social media and self esteem research paper pdf

Social media and self esteem research paper pdf

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When Self-Worth Depends on Social Media Feedback: Associations with Psychological Well-Being

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Self-Esteem, Social Comparison, and Facebook Use

Facebook use is very popular among young people, but many open issues remain regarding the individual traits that are antecedents of different behaviours enacted online.

When Self-Worth Depends on Social Media Feedback: Associations with Psychological Well-Being

Facebook use is very popular among young people, but many open issues remain regarding the individual traits that are antecedents of different behaviours enacted online. This study aimed to investigate whether the relationship between self-esteem and the amount of time on Facebook could be mediated by a tendency towards social comparison.

Moreover, three different modalities of Facebook use were distinguished, i. Because of gender differences in technology use and social comparison, the mediation models were tested separately for males and females. Data were collected by means of a self-report questionnaire with a sample of undergraduate and graduate Italian students mean age: The relations were examined empirically by means of four structural equation models.

The results revealed the role of orientation to social comparison in mediating the relations between low self-esteem and some indicators of Facebook use, i. For females, the use of Facebook for social interaction was directly influenced by high self-esteem and indirectly influenced by low self-esteem.

Globally, the dimension of social comparison on Facebook emerged as more important for females than for males. Considering all the friend-networking sites available online, Facebook seems to be the most utilized in the world, with over 1 billion visitors per month Facebook Press Room, However, other scholars have found the opposite results, providing evidence of negative consequences related to Facebook use.

However, these negative psychological outcomes are mainly related to the way people use Facebook rather than to the social network itself. For this reason, it becomes important to investigate individual traits that can predict harmful online behaviours so they can be prevented. In psychology, self-esteem is defined as the positive or negative evaluation of the self, and many theories have suggested that maintaining or raising it is a basic human need Weiten, Regarding the relationship between self-esteem and Facebook use, scholars have found contradictory results.

Some authors have interpreted this finding using social compensation theory. An opposite perspective is social enhancement, or the rich-get-richer hypothesis. According to this theory, for more sociable young people, there are added benefits from expanding communication through social media: socially active people, with high levels of self-esteem, are more inclined to utilize friend-networking sites as a means to extend their social network further Kraut et al.

A recent study Tartaglia, has shown three different modalities of using Facebook, i. The first is the use of the social network for interaction with friends and for self-expression. High self-esteem was found to be a predictor of this modality of using Facebook.

In contrast, people who use Facebook to simulate a self-image online that differs from reality had low self-esteem. Finally, the use of Facebook to seek new relations, i. Social comparison takes place when individuals compare themselves with others on abilities and personal characteristics. Festinger was the first to theorize that comparing oneself to others is a human need essential for acquiring information about the self.

Researchers have mainly focused on the consequences of Facebook social comparisons Feinstein et al. This point of view seems to suggest that a greater tendency towards social comparison might increase the use of this social network, motivated by the search for information about others. In summary, social comparison theory suggests that self-esteem influences the tendency to compare oneself with others, which in turn would influence the use of Facebook because it may be a tool for social comparison.

We aimed to empirically test this theoretical model. Considering the different modalities of using Facebook, we can make some specific assumptions. For people whose evaluation of the self is mainly based on the perceived opinions of others i. Moreover, individuals with a strong social comparison orientation may use Facebook for simulation so that they can gain benefits from comparisons and increase their self-esteem.

Finally, the use of Facebook to search for relations should not be related to a social comparison tendency because this modality seems mainly to refer to the search for a romantic partner Tartaglia, Despite the contradictory results concerning the relationship between self-esteem and Facebook use, most research Kalpidou et al. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether the relationship between self-esteem and the amount of time on Facebook would be mediated by a tendency towards social comparison.

Moreover, we wanted to test this mediational model not only on the general use of Facebook but also on three specific modalities of using Facebook, that is, social interaction, simulation and search for relations Tartaglia, Self-esteem is negatively associated with the amount of time spent on Facebook Kalpidou et al.

Self-esteem is positively related to the use of Facebook for social interaction, whereas it is not related to the use of Facebook to search for relations Tartaglia, The research sample included university students The average age of the participants was Participants attended different courses in the arts and sciences school of a public university.

Participation was voluntary. We collected the data using a self-report questionnaire, which took approximately 20 minutes to complete. The following indicators were used in our analysis:. Items were rated on a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 4 strongly agree.

Items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree. The modality of using Facebook scale Tartaglia, , including 19 items that presented different activities people can do on Facebook. The items belong to three subscales measuring different modalities of using Facebook: social interaction e.

After performing preliminary analyses, we investigated the hypothesized relationships by testing structural equation models. We tested the models simultaneously on males and females to investigate gender differences. Table 1 shows the mean scores of the measures used in the analyses. We calculated the means separately by gender group and tested the differences using t-tests. Females spent more time daily on Facebook than males. There are no other significant gender differences. Concerning the modality of Facebook usage, social interaction was the most frequent cited by participants.

Table 2 shows the correlations among measures. Self-esteem correlated negatively with social comparison orientation, daily hours on Facebook, and simulation.

Social comparison orientation correlated positively with all the Facebook use indicators. Each Facebook use indicator correlated positively with all the others except for daily hours on Facebook and search for relations, which did not correlate. On the grounds of the abovementioned literature and the preliminary analyses, we tested four structural equations models predicting daily hours on Facebook and the three modalities of using Facebook, i.

All the models assumed the following: a Self-esteem influences both social comparison orientation and the Facebook use indicator; b Social comparison orientation influences the Facebook use indicator. We tested each model simultaneously on males and females, performing bootstrap analyses to investigate the indirect effect of self-esteem on the Facebook use indicator.

We randomly aggregated the items into three indicators for each scale, except for simulation, which was reduced to two indicators. The first model see Figure 1 predicted daily hours on Facebook. For the male group, all the estimated parameters were significant.

Considering the female group, self-esteem did not directly influence daily hours on Facebook. Errors of the indicators and latent variables were omitted from the figure to make it easier to view. The second model see Figure 2 predicted the social interaction use of Facebook. Concerning the male group, there were no significant effects on social interaction.

In contrast, all the parameters estimated for the female group were significant. The third model see Figure 3 predicted the simulation modality of use of Facebook. All the parameters estimated for the male group were significant. For the female group, the direct effect of self-esteem on simulation was not significant; the other relations were similar to those for the male group.

In the model predicting the search for relations, there were no significant influences on that modality of using Facebook. The present study aimed at investigating whether the relationship between self-esteem and the amount of time on Facebook would be mediated by a tendency towards social comparison.

Moreover, we wanted to distinguish between different kinds of use of the social network and referred to three specific modalities of using Facebook, i. Finally, we wanted to test the possibility of different results when considering males and females separately. However, we did not find gender differences concerning the different modalities of using Facebook. In line with previous research Kalpidou et al. For females, social comparison orientation fully mediated the relation between self-esteem and the amount of time on Facebook because the direct path between the two variables was not significant.

Compared to males, females tend to view themselves as below others on many dimensions Goethals et al. A previous study Stefanone et al. The male tendency towards social comparison was found to only partially mediate the relation between self-esteem and time spent on Facebook. It is possible that males feel a less urgent need to compare themselves to others and that young adults with low self-esteem might spend more time on Facebook for other reasons too, e.

Concerning the different modalities of use, we obtained an interesting result related to the use of Facebook for social interaction. In line with previous research Tartaglia, , we found a positive relationship between self-esteem and using Facebook for social interaction, but only for females. Some authors have already found that females are especially interested in relationship maintenance through social media Rosen et al.

This result seems to be consistent with the rich-get-richer or social enhancement hypothesis Kraut et al. Interestingly, when we introduced the dimension of social comparison, the situation completely changed. In fact, the use of Facebook by females to socially interact was also influenced by a high tendency towards social comparison, which in turn was determined by low self-esteem.

The relevance of self-expression for females may explain this indirect relation. For such girls, expressing themselves on Facebook might be a way to improve their self-evaluation.

In line with previous research Tartaglia, , low self-esteem was related to the use of Facebook for simulation, but only for males. These data support the hypothesized compensatory use of Facebook for people with poor social skills and well-being McKenna et al. People with a low self-evaluation are more likely to control the information about themselves by selecting photos to post and writing false self-descriptions that present socially desirable images of themselves Tartaglia, It is possible that people with low self-esteem try to improve their well-being by presenting themselves as different from how they are in real life.

Introducing the dimension of social comparison orientation, we found that the use of Facebook for simulating a different self-image was also influenced by a high tendency towards social comparison, which in turn was determined by low self-esteem.

This path was found for both males and females. Our finding sheds new light on the relation between self-esteem and a potentially harmful modality of using Facebook.

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Self-Esteem, Social Comparison, and Facebook Use

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Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Self-esteem is one of the most common constructs studied regarding adolescence.

The models wearing Size 0 clothing are just that: models. And even they are made-up, retouched, and photoshopped. These days, however, the impossible standards are set much closer to home, not by celebrities and models but by classmates and friends.

2 comments

  • Raoul P. 20.11.2020 at 03:30

    Social media have become primary forms of social communication and means to maintain social connections among young adult women.

    Reply
  • Charnatoli 23.11.2020 at 15:38

    Further this research proves there that there is a strong relationship between social media and self-esteem. Increase in social media usage.

    Reply

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