Empathy and rumination as influences on levels of affective well-being through Facebook use

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McDonald, Cian
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Social comparison commonly leads to rumination and social networking sites, such as Facebook, could influence individuals to ruminate. In contrast, empathy has been linked to happiness and feelings of communal strength among friends; therefore it may buffer the effect of social comparison on wellbeing (Chou & Edge, 2012). This study involved a quantitative design using correlation. Ninety participants (42 male and 48 female) took online surveys including: Facebook Intensity (FBI), Sadness and Anger Rumination inventory (SARI), Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS-S). The main results showed participants who reported higher levels of rumination, indicated greater Facebook use. In particular participants with higher levels of sadness rumination, experienced lower positive affect and greater negative affect, while using Facebook more intensely. Gender differences only applied to intensity of Facebook use and not to rumination behaviours, empathy or affective wellbeing. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed. Author keywords: Rumination , empathy, social comparison