Two faces of social comparison on Facebook

The interplay between social comparison orientation, emotions, and psychological well-being

Sun Young Park, Young Min Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined how social networking site (SNS) users' social comparison orientations indirectly affect their psychological well-being via four types of social comparison-based emotions. Based on national survey data, we found that social comparison-based emotions mediated the relationships between Facebook users' social comparison orientations and psychological well-being. If Facebook users have a stronger ability-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being decreases via upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) toward the comparison other; however, it increases via downward assimilative emotions (e.g., worry and sympathy). By contrast, if Facebook users have a stronger opinion-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being increases via increased feelings of upward assimilative emotions (e.g., optimism and inspiration) or decreased feelings of upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) towards the comparison other. These results indicate that the effects of social comparison on psychological well-being on SNSs become positive or negative depending on whether the users’ social comparison orientation emphasized ability or opinion, and the type of emotions triggered by the comparison. We provide theoretical discussions and practical suggestions for psychologically healthy SNS use based on these empirical findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1

Fingerprint

Emotions
Psychology
Social Networking
Aptitude
Depression
Facebook
Psychological Well-being
Emotion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

@article{2bd69fbf20de4edea13e84554c1ee44d,
title = "Two faces of social comparison on Facebook: The interplay between social comparison orientation, emotions, and psychological well-being",
abstract = "This study examined how social networking site (SNS) users' social comparison orientations indirectly affect their psychological well-being via four types of social comparison-based emotions. Based on national survey data, we found that social comparison-based emotions mediated the relationships between Facebook users' social comparison orientations and psychological well-being. If Facebook users have a stronger ability-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being decreases via upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) toward the comparison other; however, it increases via downward assimilative emotions (e.g., worry and sympathy). By contrast, if Facebook users have a stronger opinion-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being increases via increased feelings of upward assimilative emotions (e.g., optimism and inspiration) or decreased feelings of upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) towards the comparison other. These results indicate that the effects of social comparison on psychological well-being on SNSs become positive or negative depending on whether the users’ social comparison orientation emphasized ability or opinion, and the type of emotions triggered by the comparison. We provide theoretical discussions and practical suggestions for psychologically healthy SNS use based on these empirical findings.",
author = "Park, {Sun Young} and Baek, {Young Min}",
year = "2018",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.028",
language = "English",
volume = "79",
pages = "83--93",
journal = "Computers in Human Behavior",
issn = "0747-5632",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Two faces of social comparison on Facebook

T2 - The interplay between social comparison orientation, emotions, and psychological well-being

AU - Park, Sun Young

AU - Baek, Young Min

PY - 2018/2/1

Y1 - 2018/2/1

N2 - This study examined how social networking site (SNS) users' social comparison orientations indirectly affect their psychological well-being via four types of social comparison-based emotions. Based on national survey data, we found that social comparison-based emotions mediated the relationships between Facebook users' social comparison orientations and psychological well-being. If Facebook users have a stronger ability-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being decreases via upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) toward the comparison other; however, it increases via downward assimilative emotions (e.g., worry and sympathy). By contrast, if Facebook users have a stronger opinion-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being increases via increased feelings of upward assimilative emotions (e.g., optimism and inspiration) or decreased feelings of upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) towards the comparison other. These results indicate that the effects of social comparison on psychological well-being on SNSs become positive or negative depending on whether the users’ social comparison orientation emphasized ability or opinion, and the type of emotions triggered by the comparison. We provide theoretical discussions and practical suggestions for psychologically healthy SNS use based on these empirical findings.

AB - This study examined how social networking site (SNS) users' social comparison orientations indirectly affect their psychological well-being via four types of social comparison-based emotions. Based on national survey data, we found that social comparison-based emotions mediated the relationships between Facebook users' social comparison orientations and psychological well-being. If Facebook users have a stronger ability-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being decreases via upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) toward the comparison other; however, it increases via downward assimilative emotions (e.g., worry and sympathy). By contrast, if Facebook users have a stronger opinion-based social comparison orientation, their psychological well-being increases via increased feelings of upward assimilative emotions (e.g., optimism and inspiration) or decreased feelings of upward contrastive emotions (e.g., depression and envy) towards the comparison other. These results indicate that the effects of social comparison on psychological well-being on SNSs become positive or negative depending on whether the users’ social comparison orientation emphasized ability or opinion, and the type of emotions triggered by the comparison. We provide theoretical discussions and practical suggestions for psychologically healthy SNS use based on these empirical findings.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85032228551&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85032228551&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.028

DO - 10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.028

M3 - Article

VL - 79

SP - 83

EP - 93

JO - Computers in Human Behavior

JF - Computers in Human Behavior

SN - 0747-5632

ER -