The Facebook Paths to Happiness: Effects of the Number of Facebook Friends and Self-Presentation on Subjective Well-Being
The current study investigates whether and how Facebook increases college-age users' subjective well-being by focusing on the number of Facebook friends and self-presentation strategies (positive vs. honest). A structural equation modeling analysis of cross-sectional survey data of college student Facebook users (N=391) revealed that the number of Facebook friends had a positive association with subjective well-being, but this association was not mediated by perceived social support. Additionally, we found that there was a negative curvilinear (inverted U-shape curve) relationship between Facebook friends and perceived social support. As for self-presentation strategies, whereas positive self-presentation had a direct effect on subjective well-being, honest self-presentation had a significant indirect effect on subjective well-being through perceived social support. Our study suggests that the number of Facebook friends and positive self-presentation may enhance users' subjective well-being, but this portion of happiness may not be grounded in perceived social support. On the other hand, honest self-presentation may enhance happiness rooted in social support provided by Facebook friends. Implications of our findings are discussed in light of affirmation of self-worth, time and effort required for building and maintaining friendships, and the important role played by self-disclosure in signaling one's need for social support.
Published in: Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, Volume 14, Issue 6, June 1, 2011, pages 359-364. Copyright © 2011 Mary Ann Liebert Inc., New Rochelle, NY. The final published version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0374