- Facebook and self-perception: individual susceptibility to negative social comparison on Facebook
- Personality and Individual Differences
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- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Social network sites such as Facebook give off the impression that others are doing better than we are. As a result, the use of these sites may lead to negative social comparison (i.e., feeling like others are doing better than oneself). According to social comparison theory, such negative social comparisons are detrimental to perceptions about the self. The current study therefore investigated the indirect relationship between Facebook use and self-perceptions through negative social comparison. Because happier people process social information differently than unhappier people, we also investigated whether the relationship between Facebook use and social comparison and, as a result, self-perception, differs depending on the degree of happiness of the emerging adult. A survey among 231 emerging adults (age 18-25) showed that Facebook use was related to a greater degree of negative social comparison, which was in turn related negatively to self-perceived social competence and physical attractiveness. The indirect relationship between Facebook use and self-perception through negative social comparison was attenuated among happier individuals, as the relationship between Facebook use and negative social comparison was weaker among happier individuals. SNS use was thus negatively related to self-perception through negative social comparison, especially among unhappy individuals.
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