Facebook And Anxiety: Frequent Status Updates May Be A Sign Of Low Self-Esteem

First Posted: Feb 10, 2015 12:58 PM EST

If you're constantly checking Facebook to see who liked your status update or new picture, you could be dealing with a bit of low self-esteem.

New findings published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences examine what seems to be a link between insecurity and frequent Facebook use. Furthermore, researchers found that people who are more insecure about their relationships are also significantly more likely to post, comment or update their status.

For the study, researchers examined 600 people between the ages of 18 and 83. Participants were asked about close relationships as well as Facebook activity, coming up with two main users: insecure ones and extroverted ones.

Findings showed that insecure users had higher levels of attachment anxiety and needed frequent reassurance to prevent worry of abandonment or rejection. 

"Compared to more secure people, those higher in attachment anxiety are more feedback sensitive," lead study author Joshua Hart, an associate professor of psychology at Union College, said in a news release. "They report feeling much better about themselves when they get a lot of comments, likes and other feedback on their posts and worse about themselves when their Facebook activity generates little attention."

Of course, frequent use of Facebook or similar social media platforms is not a sign of anxiety for everyone. For instance, some extroverts may use Facebook frequently without built up anxiety in the hopes of gaining positive reinforcement. 

"These studies are consistent with many people's intuitions that some individuals use Facebook to fulfill emotional and relationship needs that are unmet in the 'real' world," he added. "There is a robust debate playing out in psychological science and pop culture as to whether Facebook represents a healthy or unhealthy outlet for such needs. I think the jury's still out on that, but this research suggests that personality is an important factor to consider when investigating the causes and consequences of people's engagement with social media."

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