When Self-Worth Depends on Social Media Feedback: Associations with Psychological Well-Being

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© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Social media have become primary forms of social communication and means to maintain social connections among young adult women. Although social connectedness generally has a positive impact on psychological well-being, frequent social media use has been associated with poorer psychological well-being. Individual differences may be due to whether women derive their self-worth from feedback on social media. The associations between reasons for social media use, whether self-worth was dependent on social media feedback, and four aspects of psychological well-being (including stress, depressive symptoms, resilience, and self-kindness) were assessed among 164 U.S. undergraduate women who completed an online questionnaire. Results indicated that having one’s self-worth dependent on social media feedback was associated with using social media for status-seeking. Women whose self-worth was dependent on social media feedback reported lower levels of resilience and self-kindness and higher levels of stress and depressive symptoms. Additionally, women whose self-worth was highly dependent on social media feedback and who were seeking social status in their online interactions reported higher levels of stress. The present findings suggest that women whose self-worth is dependent on social media feedback are at higher risk for poorer psychological well-being, which has implications for practice and policy regarding women’s mental health.

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