Is Social Media Use Harmful? Examining the Impact of Social Media Use on Psychological Well-Being
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Type of Work49 pages
As social media was first being studied in academia, researchers were divided as to whether social media use had a positive or negative impact on psychological wellbeing (Frost & Rickwood, 2017; Lup, Trub & Rosenthal, 2015). Upon further analysis, it seems as if social media use has a different impact on well-being depending on whether the use is active or passive. The current study hypothesizes that active social media use is associated with increased psychological well-being, while passive social media use is associated with decreased well-being. I hypothesize that these relations are mediated by different factors: active social media use increases psychological well-being by increasing social capital, while passive social media use decreases psychological wellbeing through increasing social comparison. Correlation and mediation analyses were performed, but largely none of these hypotheses were supported. Significant findings associating social comparison and psychological well-being were found, however they did not align with social comparison theory but rather are better explained by emotional contagion theory. Social media use should continue to be studied to determine what impact it has on psychological well-being, as the current study was unable to make a clear association between the two. Social media users, on an individual level, should examine how they utilize social media and how it impacts their mental health, and correct their behaviors to mitigate any possible negative impacts.