Passive social networking site use and well-being: The mediating roles of social comparison and the fear of missing out

Abstract

Passively browsing social networking sites (SNSs) correlates with poorer well-being (Verduyn, Ybarra, Résibois, Jonides, & Kross, 2017). However, less research has been conducted that fully examines what factors may mediate this association. In particular, both online social comparison and the fear of missing out (FoMO) may play roles in how passive SNS browsing relates to depressive symptoms and self-perceptions. The current study adds to the literature by investigating how passive use relates to these outcomes through social comparison and FoMO. For an ethnically diverse sample of college students (N = 717, Mage = 21.47, SDage = 4.64, 69% female), passively using SNSs positively predicted social comparison, which was positively related to FoMO, which in turn positively predicted depressive symptoms, and negatively predicted global self-worth, self-perceived physical appearance, and self-perceived social acceptance. These findings suggest that social comparison and FoMO play a role in the link between passive SNS use, depressive symptoms, and self-perceptions, and that FoMO could result from online social comparison.

Bibliographic citation

Burnell, K., George, M. J., Vollet, J. W., Ehrenreich, S. E., & Underwood, M. K. (2019). Passive social networking site use and well-being: The mediating roles of social comparison and the fear of missing out. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 13(3), article 5. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5817/CP2019-3-5

Keywords

Social networking sites; passive use; online social comparison; fear of missing out; well-being

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https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2019-3-5