Do Facebook and Instagram differ in their influence on life satisfaction? A study of college men and women in South Korea



While a number of previous studies examined the impacts of social networking sites (SNSs) on young people’s well-being, they usually focused on a single platform without considering the increasing use of multiple social media platforms. In addition, only a few studies have explored gender differences, and empirical evidence outside Western culture is still lacking. To this end, the present study explores how two different types of use (i.e., active vs. passive) of the two most popular SNS (social network sites) platforms (i.e., Facebook and Instagram) are related to college men’s and women’s life satisfaction via social support and social comparison in South Korea. Path analyses conducted using data from a nationwide online survey of Korean college students (N = 360) revealed that active use contributes to life satisfaction via perceived social support on SNSs, while passive use decreases life satisfaction via negative social comparison on SNSs. Both active Facebook and Instagram use are related to perceived social support, while negative social comparison tends to be related only to passive Instagram use. Gender differences were not observed in the hypothesized relationships except for those involving the control variables (i.e., the amount of overall SNS use and the number of SNS platforms used). The results suggest that the influences of SNS use on subjective well-being depend on the types of SNS use and the nature of the platforms. The practical implications for social media literacy education are discussed.

social network sites, perceived social support, negative social comparison, life satisfaction, active and passive use
Author biography

Jounghwa Choi

Hallym University, Chuncheon, South Korea

Jounghwa Choi (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is a professor in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations at Hallym University. Her current research interests focus on the roles of mass media and communication technologies in health promotion/health behaviors as well as health/risk message strategies for public communication campaigns. This is the corresponding author for the article (


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Additional information

First submission received:
June 24, 2020

Revisions received:
February 2, 2021
July 11, 2021
November 18, 2021

Accepted for publication:
January 3, 2022

Editor in charge:
Alexander P. Schouten







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