Relationship between Facebook Usage and FOMO in Different Age Groups

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Worldwide, there were 1.52 billion daily active users on Facebook on average for December 2018 and 2.32 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2018. (Facebook, 2019). Social networking has become an integral part of how one single individual keeps up with the rest of the world. We can now virtually “follow” or be friends with practically anyone with a Facebook account, whom otherwise would be unreachable. Social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook are technological tools for seeking social connection and provide the promise of greater levels of social involvement (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). Facebook’s site banner proudly displays the slogan “Bringing the World Closer Together”, which is the social networking site’s platform and motivation. With this phenomenon of wanting to keep up and be involved, comes a fairly new jargon “Fear of Missing Out”, more widely known as FoMO. Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, & Gladwell (2013) defined FoMo as a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.

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Several researchers have demonstrated that social networking has both positive and negative impacts on well-being. Ryan & Xenos, (2011) investigated how personality influences usage or non-usage of Facebook. The results showed that Facebook users tend to be more extraverted and narcissistic, but less conscientious and socially lonely, than nonusers. Spradlin, Cuttler, Bunce, & Carrier (2019) provided novel insights into the beneficial role that Facebook may play in connecting people in the real world. On the other hand, a survey by Bevan, Gomez, and Sparks (2014) revealed that the more time spent on SNSs and the more SNSs a person used, the lower their quality of life. Steers, Quist, Bryan, Foster, Young & Neighbors (2016) also contributed to the emerging literature by providing evidence regarding how personality and other factors interact with Facebook usage.

Similarly, FoMO can have negative impacts on one’s well-being. Although FoMo is also likely to occur “offline”, social networking sites are likely a particular boon for those who grapple with fear of missing out (Przybylski, et. al., 2013). Wortham (2011) proposes that FoMO may be a source of negative mood or depressed feelings in part because it undermines the sense that one has made the best decisions in life. Przybylski et. al. (2013) developed an operational definition to measure individual differences of fear of missing out. The result is the Fear of Missing Out Scale (FoMOS), which is a brief self-report measure composed of ten items that aims to quantifiy FoMO for those who evince low, moderate, and high levels of the fear of missing out construct.

It has been demonstrated that Facebook use is linked to fear of missing out. Fox & Moreland (2015) stated that FoMo might drive the use of social media in an attempt to avoid negative mood states and feeling out of the loop. Their study demonstrated that although Facebook users often experience negative emotions, they feel pressured to access the site frequently due to the fear of missing out and to keep up with relationship maintenance demands. Some participants reported that certain features also afforded constant social comparison to other network members, which triggered jealousy, anxiety, and other negative emotions.

Facebook age restriction starts at 13 years. In certain jurisdictions, the age requirement might be higher (Facebook, 2019). This means that different age groups starting from adolescence can sign up for a Facebook account. This present study is a cohort specific study suggested by Baker, Krieger, and LeRoy (2016), which will aim to determine if there is a difference in Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) between age groups assuming that certain age group/s use Facebook at a higher rate (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010). The study will attempt to answer the following questions:

  1. Is there a significant difference in Facebook usage among different age groups?
  2. Is there a correlation between time spent on Facebook and fear of missing out?
  3. Do certain age groups experience fear of missing out more as it correlates to time spent on Facebook?
  4. The present study is essential to lay the groundwork for further evaluation of the relationship of social media use and FoMO, specifically in different age groups. It will focus solely on Facebook, the most widely used SNS according to Smith, & Anderson (2018). Pew revealed that social media use skews toward the young. This present study is a straightforward longitudinal analysis that will attempt to answer some questions on the difference of how Facebook and frequency of use impacts the emotional security in different age groups, specifically FoMO.


Baker, Z. G., Krieger, H., & Leroy, A. S. (2016). Fear of missing out: Relationships with depression, mindfulness, and physical symptoms. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 2(3), 275-282.

Bevan, J. L., Gomez, R., & Sparks, L. (2014). Disclosures about important life events on Facebook: Relationships with stress and quality of life. Computers in Human Behavior. 39. 246–253. 10.1016/j.chb.2014.07.021.

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook ‘‘friends’’: Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 1143–1168.

Facebook. Retrieved on March 2, 2019.

Facebook, Retrieved on March 2, 2019.

Fox, J., & Moreland, J. J. (2015). The dark side of social networking sites: An exploration of the relational and psychological stressors associated with Facebook use and affordances. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 168–176. 10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.083

Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010, February 3). Social media & mobile internet use among teens and young adults. Millennials. Pew Internet & American Life Project. ED525056

Smith, A., Anderson, M. (2018). Social media use in 2018. Pew Research Center.

Przybylski, A.K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C.R., & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior. 29, 1841-1848.

Ryan, T and Xenos, S 2011, ‘Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 1658-1664. 

Spradlin, A., Cutler, C., Bunce, J.P., & Carrier, L. M. (2019). #Connected: Facebook may facilitate face-to-face relationships for introverts. Psychology of Popular Media Culture 8(1), 34-40.

Steers, M.-L. N., Quist, M. C., Bryan, J. L., Foster, D. W., Young, C. M., & Neighbors, C. (2016). I want you to like me: Extraversion, need for approval, and time on Facebook as predictors of anxiety. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 2(3), 283-293. http://dx/

Wortham, J. (2011, April 10). Feel like a wallflower? Maybe it’s your facebook wall. The New York Times. 10ping.html.

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Relationship Between Facebook Usage and FOMO in Different Age Groups. (2020, Jun 09). Retrieved June 6, 2023 , from

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