Facebook: Friend or Foe for Self-Esteem and Happiness?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Deirdre Johnston

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The purpose of this study is to explore Facebook’s role in social comparison, including the relationship between social media behavior and self-esteem, and the interaction of social media behavior and self-esteem in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. In a world that puts a high emphasis on connecting through Facebook, it is important to understand the role the site plays on one’s self-esteem and social comparison. We hypothesized that Facebook behaviors would be significantly related to Self Esteem and Happiness. We also hypothesized that students from individualistic cultures (USA) would rank lower on Self Esteem and Happiness than university students from collectivistic cultures (Morocco & Other). Internet surveys were administered in English to 90 USA university students, and 29 Moroccan university students. Regardless of culture, students are using Facebook to communicate, compare and connect with one other. The results indicate that students with high SE engage in more PSC and disapprove of NSC. Students with high SE are less like to worry about how others perceive them on Facebook and genuinely portray themselves on Facebook. These findings have important implications for understanding the impact of Facebook on the wellbeing of young adults. By observing the relationship between happiness, self-esteem, and Facebook, we can better understand the implications Facebook has on student’s views of themselves, their peers, and their overall happiness.

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