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August Tip Sheet: International Conflict, Self-Esteem, and APA Annual Convention

Take a look at three studies published this month in the journals, review experts for your next piece and find story ideas from the APA Convention in Denver.



The Contagion of Interstate Violence: Reminders of Historical Interstate (but Not Intrastate) Violence Increase Support for Future Violence Against Unrelated Third-Party States
Mengyao Li, Bernhard Leidner, Hyun Euh, and Hoon-Seok Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

A series of five experiments investigating the war contagion phenomenon in the context of international relations shows that reminders of past wars will increase support for future, unrelated interstate violence. In Korea, reminders of the Korean War as an interstate rather than intrastate conflict increased support for future violence against countries that were not involved in the Korean War. Further studies in the U.S. revealed that this war contagion effect was explained by heightened perceived threat from, and negative images of, foreign countries in general, and this effect was particularly strong among people who glorify their country.


Multidimensional Perfectionism and Burnout: A Meta-Analysis
Andrew P. Hill and Thomas Curran Personality and Social Psychology Review

What drives athletes, the average worker, or even a college student to burnout? In a recent literature review of 43 studies and 663 effect sizes, researchers explore the links between perfectionism and burnout in education, athletics and the workplace, finding that when it comes to workers, both perfectionist strivings and perfectionist concerns are important. Traditionally, perfectionist strivings include positive emotional experiences and coping strategies while perfectionist concerns tend to include negative, less adaptive behaviors including anxiety. This was evident in the review of research with perfectionist strivings associated with lower burnout and perfectionistic concerns associated with higher burnout in all three of the areas of life. Set high standards but don't get stressed out if you fail!


Stability and Change in Self-Esteem during the Transition to Parenthood
Wiebke Bleidorn, Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik, Ted Schwaba, Manon A. van Scheppingen, Jaap J. A. Denissen, and Catrin Finkenauer Social Psychological and Personality Science

Marriages can be challenging, and the addition of children can add to the stress faced by parents. A recent study of 187 newlywed couples suggest that the birth of the first child is associated with changes in parents’ (especially mothers’) self-esteem. The changes were negative with sudden declines in self-esteem in the year after childbirth and continuing gradual decreases throughout the remaining years of the five year study. A comparison group of couples who did not have children during the research period showed no changes in self-esteem, suggesting that the results seen in the parent sample may indeed be due to the birth of the first child.

News media may request copies of these studies by emailing



International Conflict

Lee Ross, Professor of Social Psychology, Stanford University:

Studies barriers to conflict resolution, especially biases that lead people to misinterpret each other’s behavior; has worked on the peace processes in the Middle East, the Caucuses and Northern Ireland.

Personality Changes

Wiebke Bleidorn, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis:

Her current research involves questions about the cultural and social conditions under which people change, the genetic and environmental mechanisms that account for change, and the consequences of these changes for psychological functioning and important life outcomes.

We have experts specializing in studying terrorism to stress and coping, jury dynamics, international conflict, gender bias, happiness and many other areas of research.  Feel free to email or call us with inquiries for your next story.




For media attending the Annual APA Convention in Denver, be sure to check out the following social and personality psychology programming highlights from Division 8:
Convention Program (PDF, 784KB)

  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 5–6:30 p.m.
    APA Keynote Presentation

    The opening session will feature a thought-provoking keynote presentation by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, PhD, whose research focuses on morality — its emotional foundations, cultural variations and developmental course.
  • Friday, Aug. 5: 9-9:50 a.m. 
    Rick H. Hoyle, PhD, "Strategies and Skills Associated With Good Self-Control." Invited Address 
  • Saturday, Aug. 6: 9-9:50 a.m. 
    Max H. Bazerman, PhD, "Bounded Ethicality: Why Good People Do Bad Things." Invited Address 
  • Sunday, Aug. 7: 10-10:50 a.m. 
    Serena Chen, PhD, "Me When I’m With You: How Significant Others Influence the Self in Present and Future Relationships." Invited Address 


With over 6,000 members, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) is the largest organization of social psychologists and personality psychologists. SPSP's mission is to produce and disseminate knowledge about personality and social psychology, facilitate the careers of students and professionals, and recognize and promote achievements in personality and social psychology. Visit us at

If you're a member of SPSP and are intereseted in joining our experts list, please contact us at the email address listed to the upper right.

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