Negative Social Comparison: The Influence of Anxiety, Emotional Regulation and Problematic Use of Social Media

Author
Abstract
Most social media users are adolescents and young adults, and they use them to communicate with their peers. Despite being a place that can bring people together, social media have been invaded by publications modified by filters that can cause young people, and especially women, to be exposed to unreal beauty ideals. In turn, these girls end up comparing themselves negatively or upwardly to them. Due to this social comparison increase among women, the aim of this study was to observe if anxiety, problematic social media use (PSMU) and emotion regulation were associated with upward social comparison, and if there were gender differences. 176 adolescents and young adults took an online survey that included the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire, the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale, the Negative Social Media Comparison Scale and the Repair subscale from the Trait Meta-Mood Scale, as well as demographic data and habits regarding their social media use. Results showed that anxiety and PSMU increased the negative social comparison while emotion regulation decreased it. In addition, women tended to compare themselves more than men. The results from our study showed the need to design educational actions aimed at adolescents and young adults to protect them from the harmful uses of social media, and especially, aimed at women.
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Journal
Ansiedad y Estrés
Year of Publication
2023
Volume
29
Issue
3
Number of Pages
181-186
Date Published
12/2023
Type of Article
Journal article
Publisher
ISSN Number
1134-7937
ISBN Number
2174-0437
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Summary
DOI
10.5093/anyes2023a22