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Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive sympto

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Joshua Portillo

on 19 September 2013

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Transcript of Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive sympto

Journal Article
Negative social comparison on Facebook and depressive symptoms: Rumination as a mechanism.
Outline by Joshua Portillo
Point of Study
Recent research demonstrates that it is the quality rather than the frequency of social networking experiences that places individuals at risk for negative mental health outcomes. However, the mechanisms that account for this association have yet to be examined. Accordingly, this study examined whether the tendency to negatively compare oneself with others while using Facebook leads to increases in depressive symptoms, and whether this association is mediated by increases in rumination.
What was the population for the study?
Eligible participants were at least 18 years old and enrolled in a psychology course for which they earned research credits for study participation. The present study was posted on the online system used by the psychology department to advertise research projects and track student credit. Participants included 105 male and 181 female students from Stony Brook University
What was the method?

Participants completed an online survey consisting of questionnaires assessing social comparison (in general and specific to Facebook), rumination, and depressive symptoms. To assess change over time, a follow-up online survey was conducted 3 weeks later. Given that the surveys were administered online, respondents were able to participate from any location that had Internet access. Participants received course credit for their participation. This research was approved by the Stony Brook University Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects.
Results
Results indicated that the hypothesized mediation effect was significant. In sum, in the context of social networking, negatively comparing oneself with others may place individuals at risk for rumination and, in turn, depressive symptoms. Findings increase understanding of the mechanisms that link social networking use to negative mental health outcomes and suggest a continued emphasis on examining the specific processes that take place in the context of social networking that may be pathogenic.
The final sample included 268 individuals (62% female), with an average age of 19.66 years ( SD = 2.29) and a racial/ethnic distribution including Caucasian (40%), Asian (42%), Latino/a (5%), African American (4%), Middle-Eastern (3%), and other (6%).
Discussion
As the use of Facebook becomes increasingly commonplace, it is important to identify the behaviors and processes that may place users at risk for negative consequences. Given the inherently social nature of Facebook, we tested the hypothesis that negatively comparing oneself with others on Facebook leads to increases in depressive symptoms. The current study has strengths, including a large and racially/ethnically diverse sample, a prospective design, and the use of path analysis to test the proposed mediation model.
Ongoing development of theory about the function of social networking, the contexts in which it occurs, and the ways in which it is related to self-concept and identity may provide new avenues of research that will allow for further understanding of its effect on people of all ages.
Who conducted the study?
Feinstein, Brian A., Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US, brian.feinstein@stonybrook.edu
Hershenberg, Rachel, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US
Bhatia, Vickie, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US
Latack, Jessica A., Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US
Meuwly, Nathalie, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US
Davila, Joanne, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, US
Reference
Feinstein, B. A., Hershenberg, R., Bhatia, V., Latack, J. A., Meuwly, N., & Davila, J. (2013).
Negative Social Comparison On FaceBook And Depressive Symptoms: Rumination As A Mechanism.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(3), 161-171.
Full transcript