Marissa Mayer is bumming out her husband something fierce. Well, probably, at least if the Yahoo CEO's spouse is anything like the typical male partner of a successful woman, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. It turns out that "men's subconscious self-esteem may be bruised when their spouse or girlfriend excels," the APA said in a statement announcing the research. The study was published online on the APA's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology website. Researchers conducted five experiments with nearly 900 people in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Here's a typical one:
In one experiment, 32 couples from the University of Virginia were given what was described as a "test of problem solving and social intelligence" and then told that their partner scored either in the top or bottom 12 percent of all university students.Men who believed that their partner scored in the top 12 percent demonstrated significantly lower implicit self-esteem than men who believed their partner scored in the bottom 12 percent.
Two similar tests in the Netherlands show that " like American men, Dutch men who thought about their romantic partner's success subconsciously felt worse about themselves than men who thought about their partner's failure," the APA said. What's up with that, Dutch dudes? But it's not just the Dutch or American guys. The study's abstract concludes, "In sum, men’s implicit self-esteem is lower when a partner succeeds than when a partner fails, whereas women’s implicit self-esteem is not." My self-esteem got lower just reading about this study. I can see why this dynamic must be frustrating to women. To all the successful women out there, I apologize for our primitive thinking. Now read this: