Festinger’s social comparison theory suggests humans have a drive to gain accurate self-evaluations through comparison to others. As social media continues to expand, different platforms for social comparison are continuously being created allowing for individuals to compare themselves to millions of people worldwide. Social media provides the perfect platform for meticulous self-presentation. Frequent social media users may believe that others are happier and more successful than themselves, which could lead to lower self-esteem. Research also suggests that participants high in social comparison orientation seek out social comparisons on social media. Thus, an individual’s tendency to compare oneself to others may increase Facebook use and negatively affect their self-perception and mood. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationships between social media use, social comparison orientation, self-esteem and affect. Participants (N=234) were recruited through Mechanical Turk and convenience sampling. Facebook use, social comparison orientation, self-esteem and affect were measured. It was hypothesized that individuals with higher social comparison orientation will use Facebook more frequently and that heavier Facebook use will be associated with lower self-esteem and greater negative affect. Gender differences were also examined, and it was expected that women would score higher than men on all variables. The results showed there is a relationship between social comparison orientation, affect and Facebook use. Facebook use was positively correlated with social comparison orientation and negative affect. No significant relationship was found between frequency of Facebook use and self-esteem. Women reported using Facebook more and engaging in more social comparison. The current findings increase our understanding of the correlations to Facebook use and suggests that there are important gender differences in social media use.
Teresa King (Thesis Advisor)
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Gallinari, Elizabeth F.. (2018). Facebook: Friend or Foe? Exploring the Relationship Between Social Media Use, Social Comparison, Self-Esteem and Affect. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 287. Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/287
Copyright © 2018 Elizabeth F. Gallinari