Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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Rights Information

© 2015 Janet L Uhlir


Social media, an online arena for social behaviors such as self-presentation and social comparison, may have effects on users’ mood and mental health. Favorably presenting oneself is linked to positive outcomes such as higher self-esteem, whereas social comparison, in general and specifically upward social comparison to higher-performing others, is related to feelings of inadequacy, envy, and depression. Social comparison may explain the “Facebook depression effect,” acting as a mediator between time spent on social media and depressive symptoms. A correlational study is proposed that will ask 200 participants to report their time spent on various social media sites, self-presentation of themselves and their “friends,” social comparison orientation, and depressive symptoms. Expected findings are that time spent on social media and the degree of others’ perceived self-presentation will each be positively correlated with depression, and these relationships will be mediated by social comparison. This study will demonstrate that people feel depressed when they spend time on social media because they are frequently exposed to the self-enhancing images of others, which provides an opportunity for negative social comparison.