Social media and the need to belong: self-esteem, narcissism and life satisfaction on Facebook and Instagram

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Martin, Paul
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This study was undertaken to explore the effect social media use has on people’s self perceptions and how it may impact on their need to belong and satisfaction with life. An online survey was used to measure the scores of 166 Facebook and/or Instagram users (54 male, 112 female) on the following five scales; Social Media Intensity, Narcissism, Self- Esteem, Need to Belong and Satisfaction of Life. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling and were required to be over the age of 18. A secondary aim of the study was to examine whether age and gender have an influence on how people use social media and how it affects them. Spearman’s Rho Correlations and Independent Samples T-Tests were conducted to test nine hypotheses. With regards to the findings, Social Media Intensity and the amount of times per hour a person checks social media were found to positively correlate with a higher Need to Belong. How regularly a person checks social media and how often they update their profile, were found to positively correlate with higher scores on the Narcissism Scale. Older age groups scored lower on the Social Media Intensity and Need to Belong Scales and higher on the Self-Esteem Scale. Statistically significant differences were also observed between male and female participants with women scoring higher on Social Media Intensity and Satisfaction with Life and men reporting higher Narcissism scores. No significant relationships were discovered between social media use and participants’ selfesteem and satisfaction with life. Some of these results support existing research while others appear to be in congruent with the findings of previous studies.