Examining personal self-concept, social self-concept, and external validation seeking as predictors of problematic social media use in 18 to 22 year olds

Date

2022-12

Authors

Maza, Nora Alicia

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Abstract

Since 2005, social media use has grown tremendously from 5% of U.S. adults engaging on social media sites to 72% of U.S. adults in 2021, with even higher usage in young adults (Pew Research Center, 2021). Despite its purpose of creating interconnectedness amongst people, researchers have discovered harmful effects when users engage in problematic social media use (Primack et al., 2017; Stapelton et al., 2017). Problematic social media use is conceptualized as a behavioral addiction through a biopsychosocial framework in which a person becomes fixated on social media, has difficulty withdrawing from it, and suffers consequences interpersonally (Andreassen et al., 2017; Griffiths, 2005). Previous research has explored aspects of the self in relation to social media as well as the motivation to receive validation from others on social media. This quantitative study examines the relationship between personal self-concept, social self-concept, and external validation seeking as predictors of problematic social media use in 18 to 22 year old’s. In order to better grasp how to address problematic social media use in counseling, it is imperative to understand the characteristics of this issue. A demographic questionnaire, The Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (Andreassen et al., 2012), two subscales, personal self-concept and social self-concept, from the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale 2nd edition (Fitts & Warren, 1996), and one subscale approval from other’s from the Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale (Crocker et al., 2012). Because of a low alpha score using the approval from other’s subscale, two items were used to create “Revised Researcher Created: Approval from Other’s.� Results from this study revealed a significant relationship between personal self-concept, social self-concept, and external validation with problematic social media use. The results of a hierarchical regression analysis indicated that external validation, as measured by “Revised Researcher Created: Approval from Other’s� accounted for a significant proportion of the variance. These findings support practical implications for parents of children and adolescents, counselors, school counselors, and counselor educators. Counselors and school counselors can use these findings to better understand how to address problematic social media use. Future researcher can expand on the results of this study by conducting more qualitative research on the motivations behind social media use and seeking validation from others on social media.

Description

A dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in COUNSELOR EDUCATION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Keywords

approval from other, external validation seeking, need for approval, problematic social media use, self-concept, social media addiction

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