Economic and social distance: Perceived income inequality negatively predicts an interdependent self‐construal

Ángel Sánchez‐Rodríguez, Guillermo B. Willis, Rosa Rodríguez‐Bailón
Published Online:
03 Jul 2017
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 54 Issue 1

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Previous research has shown that economic inequality influences how people are related with others. In this article, we suggest that perceived economic inequality influences self‐construal. Specifically, we propose that higher economic inequality leads to an independent self‐construal, whereas lower economic inequality leads to an interdependent self‐construal. Correlational data from Studies 1a and 1b revealed that people who perceive lower levels of economic inequality tend to show higher levels of interdependent self‐construal, even after controlling for social class. In Study 2, using an experimental design, we found that perceived high economic inequality leads to a more independent and less interdependent self‐construal compared to the low economic inequality condition. These results expand the literature bridging the gap between a macro‐social factor, such as economic inequality, and a micro‐social factor, such as self‐construal.

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