Popular self-help materials claim that reading and internalizing positive self-statements promotes well-being. Four studies were conducted to examine how these materials may instead heighten individuals’ tendency to lay blame on those who suffer from depression. Study 1 showed positive correlation between usage of positive self-statement and victim-blaming tendency. In Study 2, participants who were only told about the benefits of positive self-statements showed more victim-blaming than those who were informed about their mixed effects. Study 3 revealed that participants who read non-evidence-based positive self-statements tended to show higher victim-blaming than those who read other statements, and the statistical significance of this effect was verified in the better-powered replication Study 4. These findings showed that uncritical use of non-evidence-based self-help materials has small but robust effect on inducing victim-blaming, r =.17, 95% CI [.11,.23]. Detailing the conditional effects of these materials to users may alleviate this negative impact.
Bibliographical noteThis paper was supported by an internal funding of Lingnan University [SSFRG/15/2/2] and partially by a funding of the Research Grants Council in Hong Kong .
- positive self-statement