Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2017 Alice C Mullin
The purpose of this study was to examine social comparison orientation on Instagram as it relates to self-esteem and state anxiety. One hundred and ninety-six young adults (ages 18-30) who use Instagram at least once a week completed scales measuring social comparison orientation, self-esteem, and state anxiety before being randomly assigned to one of two Instagram feed conditions—one that displayed non-celebrity photos and the other that displayed celebrity photos. Participants were then post-tested using the same self-esteem and state anxiety scales. Information about Instagram use, information about participants’ feelings toward the feeds, and demographic characteristics were also collected. It was expected that participants with high social comparison orientations (SCOs) would experience greater decreases in self-esteem and greater increases in state anxiety than participants with low SCOs across both conditions. Additionally, it was expected that all participants, regardless of SCO, would experience a greater decrease in self-esteem and a greater increase in state anxiety after looking at photos of non-celebrities in comparison to looking at photos of celebrities. Findings were insignificant, indicating that using Instagram may not be detrimental to mental wellbeing. A second follow-up experiment found a relationship between SCO and state anxiety, with higher SCO being related to a greater decrease in anxiety.
Mullin, Alice C., "#Comparison: An Examination of Social Comparison Orientation on Instagram as It Relates to Self-Esteem and State Anxiety" (2017). Scripps Senior Theses. 1043.