Facebook is a well-known social media platform that likely everyone you know has used at one point or another. So how does that affect the human psyche? With countless variables keeping Facebook in mind, let’s take two and take a deep dive. The topic of this report is how a person’s Narcissism and Self-esteem correlates with their Facebook use. Further discussing what that means and why that is relevant and important information. The finding s show a positive correlation between narcissism levels and Facebook use. They also show a negative correlation between self-esteem and Facebook use. This aims to show in depth said information in discussion with what that means for one’s well-being. This report aims to investigate the impact of Facebook use in our daily lives.
More particularly how it effects a person’s Self-esteem and levels of Narcissism. To start with, Facebook is a social media platform that arguably kicked off the social media era after myspace fell out of relevancy. Facebook themselves reported that as of June 2019 they saw an average of 1.59 billion active users daily. Furthermore, coming out with a whopping 2.41 billion monthly active users (‘Company Info | Facebook Newsroom’, 2019). Certainly nothing to scoff at. Keeping that in mind this research report seeks to investigate the link between high amounts of Facebook use and the human psyche. This is important because understanding how this prominent online social network impacts our lives down to the way we think, and feel is an important factor of living a healthy and happy lifestyle. More specifically this piece intends to find how a person’s self-esteem and levels narcissistic behaviour is affected by high levels of Facebook use.
Narcissism. Several researchers define this differently. In this particular report the definition comes from Christopher J. Carpenter’s article (2011) where he references Riskin and Terry (1988) discussing what stands a narcissistic personality inventory or ‘NPI’. Defining traits such as a person being incapable of deal with or accept criticism, feeling as though they deserve special treatment and favours from those around them without having done anything worthy of such behavior without reciprocation and have “a grandiose sense of self-importance or uniqueness” (C.J., Carpenter, 2011, p.1). So, what does that have to do with Facebook? Put simply “Selfies”. This is a photo an individual take of themselves and posts publicly online. Results from Jung-Ah Lee and Yongjun Sung’s article found the feedback people received from these pictures was a notable aspect. Meaning those with higher levels of narcissism were significantly more involved in the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ that were attached to their picture. This of course fed the ego of these people consequentially resulting in this behaviour (Lee, J., & Sung, Y., 2016, p.4). Keeping this in mind, the hypothesis here is that the higher a person’s Narcissism is the more they will use Facebook in order to continuously validate their inflated self-pride. In fact, in another report it was found that people who scored high on narcissism spent a lot more time on Facebook and aimed to have a more extensive friends list (Eşkisu, M., Hoşoğlu, R., & Rasmussen, K. 2017, p.6).
The other variable in this investigation is self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined by Smith, Mackie, and Claypool (2014) in N. Hawi, and M. Samaha’s article as, and I quote, “an individual’s positive or negative evaluation of himself or herself” (2016, p.2). Relating back to Facebook use, in a study by A. Błachnio and A. Przepiorka they found people who used Facebook excessively scored quite low on tests assessing self-esteem and life satisfaction (2018, p.5). Knowing this information is can be hypothesised that the lower a person’s self-esteem is the more time they will spend using Facebook. This comes from the researcher as shown and the idea that a person with a low self-esteem will spend copious amounts of time in an attempt to make themselves feel better about themselves and gain public validation.
To reiterate, this research report aims to investigate the impact of high levels of Facebook use in our daily lives in a way that pertains to narcissism and self-esteem. To do this an online survey was taken by students studying 1002PSY and their friends and family. I hypothesise that Narcissism will be positively correlated with Facebook use, meaning the more narcissistic you are the more time you will spend on Facebook. Furthermore, Self-esteem will be negatively correlated with Facebook use meaning the less self-esteem you have the more you will use Facebook. Although only forty-five of the sixty enrolled contributed to the study, in total there was three hundred and fifty-eight participants with the exclusion of those who do not use Facebook. Of these partakers there was two hundred and forty-eight females, one hundred and six males, and four other people involved in the study from ages seventeen to fifty-nine years of ages. Knowing this, the Mean age is 22.51 and the Standard Deviation is 11.18. University students studying 1002PSY in Gold Coast and Mt. Gravatt were asked to complete an online survey about their Facebook use and ask their family and friends to participate as well. The survey took approximately ten minutes to complete. The test encompassed a wide range of variables about Facebook use and its relation to its impact on the adolesces minds. As previously stated, the two variables that will be discussed out of the many tested are Narcissism and Self-esteem in relation to Facebook use as referenced in the survey results.
The online survey included the following relevant measures. For narcissism the scale was adapted from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory by Ames, D. R., Rose, P., & Anderson, C. P. The newly modified NPI-16 is a brief measure of narcissism (Journal of Research in Personality, 2006, 40, 440-450). Five questions related to levels of narcissism are asked and participants were asked to rate on a scale of one, strongly disagree, to seven, strongly agree. And for self-esteem, this scale was adapted from Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, M., 1965, Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.). This one asked five questions about a person and their self-esteem and again asked them to rate on a scale of one, strongly disagree, to seven, strongly agree.
Finally, for Facebook use, Six items adapted from the Facebook Intensity Scale (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007) were used to measure how much participants used Facebook (e.g., “Facebook is a part of my everyday activity”; 1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Scores on the items were averaged, such that higher scores indicated greater Facebook use.
The table shows the Mean, Standard Deviation or ‘SD’ and each variables correlation with Facebook use. For Narcissism the data shows a positive correlation between levels of narcissism. For self-esteem there was a negative correlation. For the specific statistics see Table one. Correlational analysis was used to examine relationships between each variable and Facebook use. A significant positive correlation emerged between levels of narcissism and Facebook use, such that greater levels of narcissism was associated with more time spent on Facebook (r = .24, p = .05). A highly significant correlation was found between self-esteem and Facebook use, such as low levels of self-esteem was associated with high levels of Facebook use (r= -.22, p = .001). The objective of this report is to explore the effect of elevated use of Facebook regularly in a narcissistic and self-esteem-related manner. As the above results show both hypothesises were supported in these findings. The first hypothesis was that the more narcissistic a person was the more time they would spend on Facebook. Which the resulted showed rang true. The second hypothesis was that the lower a person self-esteem is the more time they would spend of Facebook which the results agreed with.
These findings mirror previous research that was discussed in the introduction that formed these hypothesises in the first place. The aforementioned research set out to show that Facebook use has a significant impact on a person in a plethora of different ways. Here we took a small part of their research and looked to expand, or possibly contrast their findings. What was found was in perfect agreement with their research.
These results paint Facebook in a negative light as the findings show Facebook as a booster of negative behaviour that validates bad habits. Almost showing those who use it as either self-obsessed or incredibly insecure. As a counterpoint, this is all in excessive use in a toxic way. It’s not a commentary piece on the people who use Facebook but a report on the detrimental and incessant ways the application can be used. Overall Facebook is an addictive platform that can encourage negative habits and patterns of thought if not limited.
Discussing limitations of this study, there are a few. Firstly, there is the sample group. The people involved in this study were a very specific group. Psychology students and those related. Second, the age group was quite young which isn’t accurate to the reality of Facebook users. Lastly the number of females in the study is over double the number of males, which again does not accurately replicate the Facebook userbase. To overcome this, the questionnaire could be given out on Facebook itself to more accurately obtain the age of users, the sample size could be increased and have a cap for the genders to increase the chances for a more even gender distribution. Future research could investigate the variable order. What is meant by that is, for example, does high levels of narcissism increase Facebook use or does more time on Facebook increase levels of narcissism? This report found a correlation between the two variables but to definitely determine cause and affect isn’t something that can be validated in this report but certainly an opportunity for future study. To conclude excessive Facebook use has a clear negative affect on the human brain but that’s not to say it’s all bad. It was the start of a new age in communication and human connection that we as a race have never seen. But since we’ve never seen anything like this in human history it’s hard to say how deeply it can affect us. Thus, why research is so crucial as we walk forward into a future beyond our wildest dreams.