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Erschienen in: Journal of Happiness Studies 4/2021

05.08.2020 | Research Paper

How and Why Social Media Affect Subjective Well-Being: Multi-Site Use and Social Comparison as Predictors of Change Across Time

verfasst von: Derrick Wirtz, Amanda Tucker, Chloe Briggs, Alexander M. Schoemann

Erschienen in: Journal of Happiness Studies | Ausgabe 4/2021

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Abstract

How and why does the widespread use of social media affect happiness? The present study examined whether the three components of subjective well-being—positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction—were impacted by use of three of the most popular social network sites in the U.S. (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), using the experience sampling method. Over 10 days, greater everyday use of social media resulted in lower subjective well-being—specifically, by increasing negative affective states rather than by decreasing positive states or life satisfaction—a pattern evident across all three social network sites. In evaluating why use of social media adversely impacted subjective well-being, social comparison was a strong predictor. Specifically, the more that participants reported comparing themselves to others while using social media, the less subjective well-being they subsequently experienced. In contrast, traditional, offline social interactions exerted the opposite (beneficial) effect on happiness: increasing positive affect and decreasing negative affect. The present study therefore demonstrates that ordinary, day-to-day use of social network sites adversely impacts subjective well-being over time, and further highlights the advantages of employing independent well-being measures and assessing the use of multiple sites.

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Fußnoten
1
In the event that participants missed a survey, their most recent complete rating of positive or negative affect served as the control, as long as it was from the same day.
 
2
In other words, each one-unit increase in multi-site use predicted a .16 increase in NA, and a .03 (non-significant) change in PA.
 
3
To keep the experience sampling survey as brief as possible, participants were asked to refer specifically to Facebook for the question of social comparison. However, social comparison on other sites similarly increases NA (Garcia et al. 2020).
 
4
Because direct interactions affected subjective well-being, we explored their effect when included as a control variable in our primary analyses. However, the results were not substantively altered.
 
5
In contrast, direct, offline social interactions reduced loneliness, B (SE) =  − 0.08 (.03), t =  − 2.58, p = .01, 95% CI [− .15, −.02].
 
6
The phenomenon of assortative mixing (i.e., individuals preferentially connecting with similar others via social media) has been observed among Twitter users on the basis of subjective well-being. An interesting possibility, therefore, is that social media users may come to post content that affectively matches the content of those with whom they are connected. When those in one’s social network post largely positive content, the homogeneity of this content among connected users may only increase over time, augmenting misperceptions about the uniform positivity of others’ lives (Bollen et al. 2011).
 
7
However, none of these uses of Facebook significantly predicted subjective well-being outcomes in our data.
 
Literatur
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Zurück zum Zitat Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. CrossRef Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. CrossRef
Zurück zum Zitat Scollon, C. N. (2018). Non-traditional measures of subjective well-being and their validity: A review. In E. Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay (Eds.), Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City: DEF Publishers. Scollon, C. N. (2018). Non-traditional measures of subjective well-being and their validity: A review. In E. Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay (Eds.), Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City: DEF Publishers.
Metadaten
Titel
How and Why Social Media Affect Subjective Well-Being: Multi-Site Use and Social Comparison as Predictors of Change Across Time
verfasst von
Derrick Wirtz
Amanda Tucker
Chloe Briggs
Alexander M. Schoemann
Publikationsdatum
05.08.2020
Verlag
Springer Netherlands
Erschienen in
Journal of Happiness Studies / Ausgabe 4/2021
Print ISSN: 1389-4978
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-7780
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-020-00291-z

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