Utilization of Social Networking Sites: Engaging in Online Social Comparisons and Differences among Self-esteem, Life Satisfaction, and Affect within College Students
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The Western culture has constant access to technology which enhances their capability to connect to social media. Research indicates that the college population is one demographic that utilizes the Internet and social networking sites (SNSs) the most; this increased frequency of usage puts the students at a greater risk for experiencing negative consequences. Prior research suggests frequency of use as well as type of social comparisons made, upward or downward, while using SNSs play a role in determining one’s self-esteem, life satisfaction, and overall psychological wellbeing. As previous studies have not focused on standardizing the target or the control condition, the following research project aimed to create this standard, by utilizing norming to study differences among college students’ self-esteem, life satisfaction and affect dependent upon types of social comparisons made, intensity of Facebook use, and social comparison orientation behavior (SCOB). An experimental method was utilized in order to expose participants to types of social comparisons. Utilizing a four-way repeated measures MANOVA, results revealed that participants’ self-esteem, life satisfaction, and positive affect did not differ across level of groups. However, results indicated a significant difference in negative affect mean scores between the downward comparison group and the control group. In addition, self-esteem increased across the two time periods, while both positive and negative affect decreased. Findings also suggest significant interactions for self-esteem means between time and Facebook intensity, group and SCOB, and time, group and SCOB. Additionally, a significant interaction was found for positive affect scores between group and SCOB.
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