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Albright College's Newest Research on Facebook Users

Many of us on Facebook are familiar with those couples who use the social networking site as a platform to declare their undying love for each other. Annoying as it may be in our newsfeeds, researchers from Albright College in Reading, PA, suggest some of these couples do this to brag about their relationships and keep track of their partner's activities in order to mitigate fears of rejection.

Facebook users with an unhealthy variety of self-esteem regarding their relationship are more likely to post photos and details of their relationship on the platform, researchers say.

The researchers presented their findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Austin, TX, and the Association for Psychological Science conference in San Francisco, CA.

Recently, other studies have investigated how Facebook affects our sense of belonging, and Medical News Today recently presented a feature investigating how social media affects our mental health and well-being.

It is understandable why some people choose to proclaim their love through social media. Assistant Professor Gwendolyn Seidman, of Albright College, surveyed Facebook users who were in romantic relationships and found that those who were happy in their relationship are more likely to use the platform to post photos and details of their relationship, as well as "liking" comments on their partner's wall.

However, she and her colleague Amanda Havens also found that users high in Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE), an unhealthy variety of self-esteem that depends on how well the relationship is going, were also more likely to post affectionate content related to their relationship.

The researchers also found that these users were compelled to brag about their relationship or monitor their partner's activities on Facebook.

'Introverts more likely to spy on their partner through Facebook'

After surveying the participants about their Facebook behaviors and inclinations, the researchers measured the "Big Five" personality traits - openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

 

For those participants who were high in RCSE, the researchers found that when something goes wrong in the relationship, it is a bigger hit to their self-esteem than it would be for those low in RCSE.

"These results suggest that those high in RCSE feel a need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is 'OK' and, thus, they are OK," says Seidman.

She and her colleague observed that the participants who were high in neuroticism were more likely to use Facebook to monitor their partner and show off their relationship.

Seidman says this is what they expected, "given that neurotic individuals are generally more jealous in their romantic relationships," and adds that these people may use the platform as a means to lessen fears of anxiety and rejection within their relationship.

Contrary to what they expected, they found that extraverts - who are generally more active on Facebook, with more friends - are not as likely to monitor their partners or make affectionate posts on the platform.

On the other hand, introverts are more likely to post affectionate content and to spy on their partner, they add.

In other interesting social media news, Medical News Today recently reported on a study that suggested happy social media status updates encourage happy updates from other users. Meanwhile, another study suggested that viewing too many pictures of food on social media sites can make it less enjoyable to eat.

Written by Marie Ellis

OMG! He Likes Me, He Really Likes Me

Albright College Research Reveals Connection Between Relationship-Contingent Self-Esteem and Facebook Activity.

July 31, 2014

Reading, Pa. – Posting adorable couple photos and saccharine-sweet shout-outs to your significant other on Facebook is one thing.

But new research from Albright College has revealed that some lovebirds are using the popular social media platform for more nefarious purposes, including bragging about their romantic relationship and keeping tabs on their partner’s activities.

Albright assistant professor of psychology Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., working with now Albright alumna Amanda Havens, surveyed Facebook users in romantic relationships and found that those satisfied with their relationship are more likely to use Facebook to post couple photos and details of their relationship, as well as affectionate comments on their partner’s wall.

Individuals high in Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE) – an unhealthy form of self-esteem that depends on how well your relationship is going – are also more likely to post affectionate content. But these individuals also felt the need to brag about their relationship to others and even monitor their boyfriend or girlfriend’s Facebook activities. And for those high in RCSE, having something go wrong in the relationship is an even bigger blow to their self-esteem than it would be for someone low in RCSE, said Seidman.

“These results suggest that those high in RCSE feel a need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is ‘OK’ and, thus, they are OK,” said Seidman.

For this study, participants were asked to complete a survey about their Facebook behaviors and motivations. Researchers also measured the Big Five personality traits, which include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The findings were presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Austin, Texas, and the Association for Psychological Science conference in San Francisco, Calif., earlier this year.

According to the researchers, individuals high in neuroticism are also more likely to use Facebook to monitor their partner and show off their relationship. “This is what we expected, given that neurotic individuals are generally more jealous in their romantic relationships,” said Seidman, who suggests these individuals may use Facebook as a way to lessen their fears of rejection and anxiety within the relationship.

What researchers didn’t expect is that extraverts – of whom past research has shown generally have more Facebook friends and are more active users – are less likely to monitor their partners or make affectionate posts. Introverts, however, are more likely to post affectionate content and are more likely to snoop on their significant other.

Note: Albright College is one of the most favorite universities in partnership with Litz USA Student Service, every year many of our students transfer to one of the Top 30 Universities in US. Founded in 1856, Albright College is a selective, national liberal arts college enrolling 1,700 full-time undergraduates and more than 800 adult learners and graduate students. The College’s flexible interdisciplinary curriculum, strengthened by a close-knit residential learning environment, encourages students to combine majors and disciplines to create individualized academic programs. Close faculty mentorship, numerous experiential learning options, and a diverse, supportive community of scholars and learners help students exceed their own expectations and graduate with a commitment to a life time of service and learning. Albright College is located in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Albright College. A Different Way of Thinking.

 

Sources:

http://www.albright.edu/news/releases/july/FBSelfEsteem.html#.U_RwBPmSx4k

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280942.php

http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/the-psychology-of-very-public-displays-of-possessions

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