Jennifer Crocker

Jennifer Crocker
The Ohio State University | OSU · Department of Psychology

PhD, Harvard University

About

210
Publications
253,344
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
27,062
Citations
Introduction
I am Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology at the Ohio State University. I study interpersonal goals, particularly self-image goals and compassionate goals, and their correlates, antecedents, and consequences for learning, self-regulation, relationships, and mental and physical health.
Additional affiliations
June 2010 - present
The Ohio State University
January 1988 - December 2006
July 1985 - June 2010
University of Michigan
Education
September 1975 - September 1979
Harvard University
Field of study
  • Psychology and Social Relations
January 1972 - May 1975
Michigan State University
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 1970 - May 1971
Reed Collge
Field of study
  • Mathematics

Publications

Publications (210)
Article
Stigma reduction research finds that brief interactions with a person with mental illness can reduce prejudiced attitudes. We examined whether this finding extends to real relationships over an extended period of time. First‐year college roommate dyads, one of whom reported a mental illness diagnosis participated in a longitudinal study (N = 166 dy...
Article
Growth-seeking refers to a general tendency to pursue growth when facing challenges. The current studies examined whether and how benevolent intentions to support others and not harm them (i.e., compassionate goals in relationships) predict growth-seeking and whether this association is independent of relationship security, which may also predict g...
Article
Full-text available
Social media use has become an integral part of many young adults' daily lives. Although much research has examined how social media use relates to psychological well-being, little is known about how it relates to physical health. To address this knowledge gap, the present research investigated how the amount of social media people use relates to v...
Article
Full-text available
Past research indicates that childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) undermines the quality of adult romantic relationships by fostering negative characteristics in survivors. Two longitudinal studies investigated the hypothesis that decreased compassionate goals toward partners over time explain the association between CEM and declining relationshi...
Article
Although positive social relationships are assumed to relate to lower levels of chronic systemic inflammation, the empirical evidence on this association is mixed. This study examines whether perceived social support-giving (i.e., the belief that one can be available to give social support to others, henceforward referred to as perceived support-gi...
Article
Full-text available
We predicted that people with compassionate goals to support others and not harm them practiced more COVID-19 health behaviors during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to protect both themselves and others from infection. Three studies ( N = 1,143 American adults) supported these predictions and ruled out several alternative explanations. Compassionate goals...
Article
Full-text available
What enables people to give support that effectively addresses others' needs? Four studies examined the role of prosocial motivation, namely, compassionate goals, in providing support that addresses recipients' needs (‘matching’ support). Because people with compassionate goals are motivated to promote others' well‐being, this study hypothesizes th...
Article
Full-text available
The compassionate goals scale was developed to assess the intentions underlying prosocial behaviors. Over the past 10 years, it has been shown to predict prosociality. However, research has not yet examined how compassionate goals relate to other measures of prosocial orientations or demonstrated that compassionate goals predict unique variance bey...
Article
Full-text available
Acetaminophen – a potent physical painkiller that also reduces empathy for other people’s suffering – blunts physical and social pain by reducing activation in brain areas (i.e. anterior insula and anterior cingulate) thought to be related to emotional awareness and motivation. Some neuroimaging research on positive empathy (i.e., the perception an...
Article
Full-text available
The pursuit of compassionate goals, which involves focusing on and attending to other people’s needs, has often been described as a defining characteristic of an interdependent self that prioritizes harmonious relationships over individual achievement. This research investigated whether compassionate goals can be empirically distinguished from vari...
Article
Objective: Interpersonal models of depression and anxiety have not examined the role of interpersonal goals in shaping relationships and symptoms. Striving to promote/protect desired self-images (self-image goals) may undermine relationships and increase symptoms, whereas striving to support others (compassionate goals) may be protective, but clin...
Article
Objectives: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is thought to mediate the effects of stress on illness. Research has identified a limited number of psychological variables that modulate human HPA responses to stressors (e.g. perceived control and social support). Prosocial goals can reduce subjective stress, but have not been carefully e...
Article
Full-text available
Research has taken a dim view of regulating emotions via expressive suppression. However, the impact of suppression may vary according to individuals’ interpersonal orientation. In two studies, we examined the effects of suppression under self-transcendent and self-interest orientations. Results revealed that (1) in everyday life, although disposit...
Article
Full-text available
Greater numeracy has been correlated with better health and financial outcomes in past studies, but causal effects in adults are unknown. In a 9-week longitudinal study, undergraduate students, all taking a psychology statistics course, were randomly assigned to a control condition or a values-affirmation manipulation intended to improve numeracy....
Data
Descriptive statistics for measures. Descriptives for all measures discussed in the main text by time. (DOCX)
Data
Measures and demographics by time and experimental condition. Descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage or mean and standard deviation) for all measures and demographics for each condition at each time. (DOCX)
Data
Correlation table. Correlation table of all variables included in analyses, restricted to those who participated in the intervention manipulation. (DOCX)
Data
Health-related behavior, financial outcome, and financial literacy measures by condition and time. Percentages of responses to health-related behavior, financial outcome, and financial literacy measures by condition and time. (DOCX)
Data
ONS items with scoring criteria and percentage correct. (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information. Additional procedural detail and analyses. (DOCX)
Data
Health-related behavior, financial outcome, and financial literacy measures. Percentages of positive responses to health-related behaviors, financial outcomes and financial literacy measures. (DOCX)
Data
Alternative SEM for decision outcomes. Structural equation model of the effects of the numeracy intervention on all Time-2 decision outcomes (i.e., financial literacy, health-related behaviors, financial outcomes, n = 194). Path coefficients are unstandardized; standard errors are in parentheses. Paths are *p < .050, †p < .010. Nonsignificant paths...
Data
Alternative SEM for STEM outcomes. Structural equation model of the effects of the numeracy intervention on all Time-2 STEM-related outcomes (i.e., grades in the statistics course, Time-2 intentions to take more math classes, and number of math-intensive courses per term after the experiment, n = 218). Path coefficients are unstandardized; standard...
Data
Beta coefficients for starting SEM models. Beta coefficients (standard error in parentheses) of the effects of covariates (i.e., ethnicity and Time-1 Financial Outcomes) on variables in full SEM model (see S1 Supporting Information, S1 and S3 Figs). (DOCX)
Data
Starting SEM model for decision outcomes. Structural equation model of the effects of the numeracy intervention on all Time-2 decision outcomes (i.e., financial literacy, health-related behaviors, financial outcomes, n = 194). Path coefficients are unstandardized. Solid paths are p < .0.10, *p < .05, †p < .10, dashed paths are p>.10. Paths from Tim...
Data
Starting SEM model for STEM outcomes. Structural equation model of the effects of the numeracy intervention on all Time-2 STEM-related outcomes (i.e., grades in the statistics course, Time-2 intentions to take more math classes, and number of math-intensive courses per term after the experiment, n = 212). Path coefficients are unstandardized; stand...
Article
Full-text available
Optimal social interactions can leave people feeling socially connected and at ease, which has clear implications for health and psychological well-being. Yet, not all social interactions leave people feelings at ease and connected. What explains this variability? We draw from the egosystem–ecosystem theory of social motivation (Crocker and Canevel...
Article
Although research has examined the consequences of relational self-construal (RSC), little is known about what psychological factors predict it. Four studies examined the association between compassionate goals and RSC. Study 1 showed that compassionate goals are positively associated with RSC in college students. Study 2 replicated this associatio...
Article
According to the egosystem-ecosystem theory of social motivation, people with ecosystem motivation believe their interpersonal relationships work in nonzero-sum ways. A longitudinal study of individuals in romantic relationships and a study of romantic couples who had a conflict discussion in the laboratory both showed that compassionate goals pred...
Article
We examine recent evidence on the consequences of selfishness and otherishness for psychological well-being, physical health, and relationships. In the first sections, we consider recent evidence regarding the costs and benefits of giving time, money, and support to others and the costs and benefits of taking or receiving those things from others....
Article
Simulation theories of empathy hypothesize that empathizing with others’ pain shares some overlapping psychological computations with the processing of one’s own pain. Support for this perspective has largely relied on functional neuroimaging evidence of an overlap between activations during the experience of physical pain and empathy for other peo...
Poster
Full-text available
Resting vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV) is widely known as a psychophysiological index of prefrontal inhibitory control and thus, is a proxy of emotion regulation capabilities. Resting vmHRV is often examined as an individual difference measure related to self-regulation. However, resting vmHRV may also play an important role in dya...
Article
Full-text available
In contemporary Western society, many adults use praise to boost children's self-esteem. Accordingly, they might praise those who seem to need it the most: children with low self-esteem. In this article, we review research showing that certain types of praise can backfire, especially in children with low self-esteem. Adults are inclined to give chi...
Article
Full-text available
This study tested whether compassionate goals to support others and self-image goals to maintain and defend desired self-images: 1) are equivalent constructs across three cultures (U.S., Japan, Poland); 2) overlap with interdependent self-construal; and 3) predict relationships and growth measures similarly in each country. We re-analyzed data from...
Article
Self-image goals focus on constructing, maintaining, and defending desired public and private images of the self, whereas compassionate goals focus on being supportive and not harming others. We suggest that these goals shape construals of others in relation to the self, which in turn, shape affective experiences. We review research showing that wh...
Article
In animal models, acute inflammation can trigger social withdrawal and in humans it can trigger feelings of social disconnection. In humans, there may be psychological factors that protect against these effects such as compassionate goals, which reflect an intention to be supportive and hence approach relationship partners. In the present study, ro...
Article
Background: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a critical mediator linking stress to health. Understanding how to modulate its reactivity could potentially help reduce the detrimental health effects of HPA axis activation. Social evaluative threat is a potent activator of this system. Access to control and coping responses can reduce...
Chapter
Full-text available
(from the chapter) North Americans generally view self-esteem as an unmitigated good, integral to a meaningful, satisfying, and fulfilling life. Underlying this cultural concern with self-esteem is the belief that feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem lead people to do things that are harmful and destructive to themselves and to others; in...
Article
It was hypothesized that self-image goals to construct, defend, and maintain desired images of the self enhance relationship insecurity, whereas compassionate goals to support others diminish relationship insecurity. Study 1 followed 115 new college roommates for 3 weeks; Study 2 followed 230 new college roommates across a semester. Both studies as...
Article
Molecular Psychiatry publishes work aimed at elucidating biological mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders and their treatment
Article
The endogenous opioid system, which alleviates physical pain, is also known to regulate social distress and reward in animal models. To test this hypothesis in humans (n=18), we used an μ-opioid receptor (MOR) radiotracer to measure changes in MOR availability in vivo with positron emission tomography during social rejection (not being liked by oth...
Article
If your self-worth depends on success, you may be in for a fall. To feel good about yourself, think less about you and more about others
Article
Full-text available
In American samples, compassionate goals to support others enhance relationships, whereas self-image goals to construct and defend desired self-images undermine relationships. But do these goals exist as separate factors, and do they predict similar outcome variables in Japan? How much do compassionate goals overlap with having an interdependent se...
Article
Full-text available
The desire to change roommates served as a model of nonromantic relationship dissolution within 115 college roommate dyads. We measured personality, mental health, social/communication patterns, and academic achievement attitudes over the course of a semester, and we used multilevel modeling to estimate individual-level and relationship-level predi...
Chapter
Interpersonal goals are a key mechanism through which people and their social environments influence each other. Two goals-self-image and compassionate goals-the motivational systems that energize these goals, their measurement, and how they relate to other constructs in the literature are described. Results of three longitudinal studies of first-y...
Article
Rationale/statement of the problem : Stress undermines health, perhaps via activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary andrenal (HPA) axis. There is evidence that psychological factors (i.e., sense of control, familiarity, effective coping, and social support) can buffer stress effects and HPA axis activation. There is also evidence that resilience an...
Article
The authors tested the hypothesis that affirming self-transcendent values attenuates negative consequences of self-threat better than affirming self-enhancement values. If value-affirmation buffers against threat because it bolsters the self, then affirming either a self-transcendent or self-enhancement value should similarly prevent typical decrea...
Article
The self-esteem movement has been around since the 1970s, and may have influenced how much value people place on self-esteem. We predicted a negative relationship between age and the amount of value placed on self-esteem boosts. We also investigated the correlates of liking versus wanting self-esteem boosts (and other pleasant rewards) on depressio...
Article
In this chapter, we examine how the self both creates and results from experience-both its high points and low points. At a metatheoretical level, we consider how social and personality psychologists typically conceive of and study the self, drawing on the topic of self-esteem to illustrate typical views of the self as dispositional characteristics...
Article
An interim report released in October 2011 by Tilburg University, Netherlands, concluded that one of its faculty members, social psychologist Diederik Stapel, fabricated data for numerous studies conducted over a period of 15 to 20 years.* The good news, of course, is that the fraud was eventually uncovered. The bad news is that it went undetected...
Article
Full-text available
The extensive academic fraud of Diederik Stapel has rocked science. Social psychologist Jennifer Crocker traces the destructive path that cheats follow.
Chapter
In this essay, we consider the motivations people have for caregiving, and the consequences of these motivations for the self and others. We argue that there are at least two fundamentally different views, or motivational perspectives, that people can have about caregiving. Caregiving in the egosystem is viewed as a means for people to satisfy thei...
Article
Comments on an article by Nilanjana Dasgupta (see record 2011-28401-002). Nilanjana Dasgupta makes a powerful case that numbers shape the psychology of women and minorities in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The article is a tour de force and should be read immediately by anyone who cares about the under...
Article
Many people ascribe great value to self-esteem, but how much value? Do people value self-esteem more than other pleasant activities, such as eating sweets and having sex? Two studies of college students (Study 1: N=130; Study 2: N=152) showed that people valued boosts to their self-esteem more than they valued eating a favorite food and engaging in...
Article
The belief that difficulties can lead to growth in relationships, or growth belief, has consequences for relationships (e.g., Knee, 1998). But what predicts change in this belief? We hypothesized that compassionate goals to support others (Crocker & Canevello, 2008) predict increased growth belief through increased need satisfaction. In Study 1, 19...
Article
Full-text available
Interpersonal dynamics of self-esteem are explored. The author proposes that the desire to be seen as having positive qualities and avoid being seen as having dreaded qualities paradoxically leads to lowered self-esteem and lowered regard from others through its adverse effects on interpersonal relationships. The author also argues that the human c...
Article
A substantial body of empirical evidence suggests that social relationships buffer people from poor health. We review a program of research demonstrating how interpersonal goals create relationship processes that shape the quality of close relationships, which we argue may have consequences for own and others’ health. Self-image goals to construc...
Article
People often adopt self-image goals to increase others' regard for them and perhaps their own self-esteem. But do these impression management goals achieve their intended result in close relationships? And do they endure over time? We suggest that self-image goals predict decreased self-esteem and close others' regard for the self through decreased...
Chapter
Jennifer Crocker discusses her most underappreciated work. The research focused on self-image goals, which involve getting others to view the self in desired ways so we can get what we want, and compassionate goals, which involve being constructive and supportive of others. On the positive side, a paper on the interactive effects of self-image and...
Article
People often try to manage the impressions others have of them so others will have high regard for them. What are the consequences of chronically having self-image goals in ongoing relationships? A program of research examining the effects of self-image goals and contrasting them with compassionate goals focused on supporting others is described. R...
Article
Full-text available
Members of stigmatized cultural groups may view positive feedback from a dominant group member more negatively than do dominant cultural group members. In this experiment, a White evaluator praised or did not praise either Black or White students for a good academic performance. The students then indicated their perceptions of the evaluator’s pol...
Chapter
(from the chapter) We propose that the goals people have in cross-group interactions contribute to the discomfort they feel and that by shifting goals, people may not only reduce their discomfort and avoidance of cross-group interactions but may be better equipped to create positive relationships across group boundaries. We distinguish between two...
Article
Many people ascribe great value to self-esteem, but how much value? Do people value self-esteem more than other pleasant activities, such as eating sweets and having sex? Two studies of college students (Study 1: N=130; Study 2: N=152) showed that people valued boosts to their self-esteem more than they valued eating a favorite food and engaging in...
Article
Full-text available
Incremental theorists, who believe intelligence can improve, may be more resilient to failure than entity theorists, who believe intelligence is fixed. Three studies explored whether incremental theory reduces self-handicapping and self-esteem vulnerability in students who do and do not invest their self-worth in academics. In Studies 1 and 2, cont...
Article
Full-text available
Perceived partner responsiveness is a core feature of close, satisfying relationships. But how does responsiveness originate? Can people create relationships characterized by high responsiveness and, consequently, higher quality relationships? The authors suggest that goals contribute to cycles of responsiveness between two people, improving relati...
Article
Full-text available
Two longitudinal studies examined the associations between interpersonal goals (i.e., self-image and compassionate goals) and anxiety and dysphoria (i.e., distress). In Study 1, 199 college freshmen (122 women, 77 men) completed 12 surveys over 12 weeks. Compassionate goals predicted decreased distress, and self-image goals predicted increased dist...
Article
Full-text available
Deriving self-worth from romantic relationships (relationship contingency) may have implications for women's sexual motives in relationships. Because relationship contingency enhances motivation to sustain relationships to maintain positive self-worth, relationship contingent women may engage in sex to maintain and enhance their relationships (rela...
Chapter
Egosystem MotivationImplications for Self-RegulationContingencies of Self-Worth and Self-RegulationSelf-Image Goals and Self-RegulationContingencies of Self-Worth and Self-Image GoalsCompassionate Goals and Self-RegulationFuture DirectionsConclusions References
Chapter
In this chapter, we consider research and theory on the idea that prejudice and discrimination lower the self-esteem of people with stigmatized identities. We describe how studies of the effects of stigma on self-esteem progressively evolved to (a) examine moderators of the effects of social stigma on self-esteem; (b) examine how situational variab...
Article
Full-text available
The achievement motivation and stereotype threat theories both predict that students who base their self-worth on academics tend to underperform on ability tests. However, the former theory maintains that students in general risk underperformance, whereas the latter maintains that negatively-stereotyped students—but not positively-stereotyped stu...
Article
Full-text available
Coping motives for drinking initiate alcohol-related problems. Interpersonal goals, which powerfully influence affect, could provide a starting point for this relation. Here we tested effects of self-image goals (which aim to construct and defend desired self-views) and compassionate goals (which aim to support others) on heavy-episodic drinking an...
Article
Full-text available
Two types of interpersonal goals-self-image goals and compassionate goals-reflect distinct motivational perspectives on the relationship between the self and others-egosystem and ecosystem perspectives, respectively. Research on the associations of self-image goals and compassionate goals with students' experiences in their first semester of colleg...
Article
The presidential campaign of Barack Obama was remarkable for the millions of volunteers and donors it inspired. In this article, we argue that the Obama campaign was inspirational because it communicated an ecosystem perspective—a perspective in which people care about something larger than the self. We describe the characteristics of ecosystem per...
Article
People who feel entitled to admiration and respect from others do not make good companions. This research shows one reason why. Entitled people adopt self-image goals (goals that aim to construct and defend a positive self-image), which then lead to interpersonal conflict and hostility. Studies 1A and 1B documented a unique relation between entitle...
Chapter
(from the chapter) Intergroup relations are notoriously difficult. When people with different social identities interact, tension and negative emotion often ensue. Frequently, tension escalates into seemingly intractable conflict, with destructive consequences. We propose that interactions between people with different identities, one valued or non...
Article
Full-text available
In 2 studies, the authors examined whether relationship goals predict change in social support and trust over time. In Study 1, a group of 199 college freshmen completed pretest and posttest measures of social support and interpersonal trust and completed 10 weekly reports of friendship goals and relationship experiences. Average compassionate goal...
Article
People with depression often conceal their depression and do not seek help, in part because of the stigma associated with mental illness. We propose two motivational systems for the self: egosystem motivations, concerned with protecting and inflating desired self-images, and ecosystem motivations, concerned with contributing or supporting others. U...