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The moderating role of social network size on social media use and self-esteem: An evolutionary mismatch perspective

Lim, A.J.Y., Lau, C. and Li, N.P. (2021) The moderating role of social network size on social media use and self-esteem: An evolutionary mismatch perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 12 . Art. 734206.

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Abstract

Existing meta-analyses have shown that the relationship between social media use and self-esteem is negative, but at very small effect sizes, suggesting the presence of moderators that change the relationship between social media use and self-esteem. Employing principles from social comparison and evolutionary mismatch theories, we propose that the social network sizes one has on social media play a key role in the relationship between social media use and self-esteem. In our study (N = 123), we showed that social media use was negatively related to self-esteem, but only when their social network size was within an evolutionarily familiar level. Social media use was not related to self-esteem when people’s social networks were at evolutionarily novel sizes. The data supported both social comparison and evolutionary mismatch theories and elucidated the small effect size found for the relationship between social media use and self-esteem in current literature. More critically, the findings of this study highlight the need to consider evolutionarily novel stimuli that are present on social media to better understand the behaviors of people in this social environment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Frontiers
Copyright: © 2021 Lim et al.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62648
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