- striving to avoid inferiority
- fears of missing out, being overlooked and active rejection
- attachment style (the way in which people form relationships which is thought to stem from our very early relationships with our mother our 'primary caregiver')
- perception of their social rank
- and mental-health problems
Striving to avoid inferiority was highly correlated with shame and moderately associated with feeling inferior to others and submissive behaviour. It was also associated with anxious and avoidant attachment, self-harm, anxiety, depression and stress. The researchers concluded that when people feel insecure in their social environments it can lead them to focus too much on a heirarchical view of themselves and others with a fear of rejection if they feel they have been too inferior or subordinate; something which may increase their vulnerability to depression, anxiety and stress.
Gilbert, Paul ... [et al] - The dark side of competition: how competitive behaviour and striving to avoid inferiority are linked to depression, anxiety, stress and self-harm Psychology and Psychotherapy: theory, research and practice June 2009, 82(2), 123-136