University of Twente Student Theses


The Effects of Facebook and Instagram Use, Social Comparison, and Self-Esteem on Mental Well-Being in Young Adults : An Experience Sampling Study

Schünke, Sarah (2022) The Effects of Facebook and Instagram Use, Social Comparison, and Self-Esteem on Mental Well-Being in Young Adults : An Experience Sampling Study.

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Abstract:Background. The use of social media within young adults has quickly increased over the past decade. Today, existing literature is inconclusive about its effects on mental well-being, making it vital to further research about its impacts. Further, there might be underlying factors which affect this relationship, making it important to investigate more. Especially the constructs of self-esteem and social comparison could have an influence on this relationship since self-esteem can be mood reactive and fluctuating when using social media. Furthermore, individuals are constantly exposed to self-relevant information which can increase social comparison behaviours. Objective. The aim of the current study is to explore and expand on existing literature regarding the association of Facebook and/or Instagram use and mental well-being in young adults. Moreover, the relationship will be further explored by examining what moderating roles (contingent) self-esteem and upward social comparison play in this relationship. Method. The current study made use of an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) design for eight consecutive days. The recruitment was based on convenience sampling and 33 participants were included in the analysis. The mean age of the participants was 21.13 years and 63.6% participants identified as female. Demographics and trait measurements were assessed one day before the study started and state measurements were assessed three times a day for the following eight days. Results. A Linear Mixed Model Analysis (LMM) revealed a significant negative relationship between Facebook and/or Instagram use on mental well-being in young adults (b= -.07, p< .001). Further, no significant effect was found when (contingent) self-esteem was added as a moderating variable to the analysis (b= -.03, p= .209). In addition, when upward social comparison was added as a moderator, no significant relationship was found either (b= -.03, p= .198). Conclusion. The current research extended on existing literature by applying an ESM study design in the context of social media use and mental well-being in young adults. It was found that Facebook and Instagram use is negatively affecting mental well-being in young adults. Upward social comparison and (contingent) self-esteem were not found to have moderating roles in this relationship in the current study. These findings contribute to existing literature with novel insights, however, there is still space for future research concerning what other psychological constructs might play a role in the relationship as well as to apply screentime measuring tools to get more objective and accurate data
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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