Individual differences, status and assertive behavior

Thalma E. Lobel*, Orna Kashtan, Itzhak Gilat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined assertive behavior and its relationship to two personality variables-need for social approval (nApp) and the defense mechanism "Turning Against Objects" (TAO)-and one situational variable-the status of the target person. The subjects, 51 female and 41 male undergraduates participated in role play situations which differed with regard to the status (lower, equal and higher) of the target person. They also completed the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability scale and the Defense Mechanism Inventory (Glesser and Ihilevich, 1969). The results revealed a significant interaction between TAO, the approach component of nApp, and the status of the target person. The equal-status situation seemed to be differentiated from both unequal-status situations. The high-nApp- high-TAO subjects differed from all other groups in being less rather than more assertive towards peers than towards others. The patterns that emerged confirmed the interactional approach that both situational and dispositional factors contribute to determining assertiveness of behavior. Tentative interpretations of the findings were suggested with reference to social comparison theory, and implications for further research applications were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-540
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987


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