Is Social Media Making Us more Narcissistic

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Selfie, Narcissism and Posting Behaviors Selfies have become a popular cultural aspect over the world. Selfie refers to a self-portrait that a person takes using a smartphone or webcam. A survey of 1710 U.S. adults showed that 50% of respondents edit their own selfies. Studies have reported narcissism and self-objectification as predictors of selfie-editing. Self-editing may be due to the dissatisfaction with one’s selfish appearance or a desire to look better than others; either is a result of self-evaluation. Although social comparisons usually occur between similar people, people also engage in social comparisons with different people. As mentioned, narcissistic people would engage in social comparison downwards to maintain their inflated self-concept, while people with low self-esteem would engage in social comparison upwards to assess themselves and find a way to improve themselves. 

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The use of social media has been measured by the number of times each of the eight social media platforms uses on average weekdays: blogs, online communities, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Band Only the DV at W1(wave 1) and social comparison with friends at W1 were signi?cant predictors of the DV at W2 (wave2), supporting H1 Social comparison with friends at Wave 1 will increase selfie editing frequency at Wave 2. (social comparison with in?uencers/celebrities did not predict sel?e-editing frequency at W2). Regarding the relationships between four IVs and two types of social comparison behavior, sel?e-taking frequency, social media use, and public self- consciousness at W1 were all positively associated with both types of social comparison at W1. Satisfaction with facial appearance was not related to any type of social comparison. The path from public self-consciousness / social comparison with friends / sel?e editing and the path from social media / social comparison with friends / sel?e editing and were also signi?cant. The results showed that the frequency of self-taking, public self-awareness and social media use at W1 indirectly increased self-editing frequency at W2 by social comparison with friends at W1, but not by comparison with influencers/celebrities.

Moreover, some studies have implemented the positive association of body satisfaction with self-posting behavior, recent studies have found that there is no symbolic association between body image satisfaction and self-posting frequency. Positive attitudes towards self- posting can enhance the predictive role of body satisfaction in self- posting; in contrast, negative attitudes can weaken the effect of body satisfaction on self- posting. In model 3, body satisfaction predicted a positive self-posting behavior, while the direct effect of narcissism on self-posting was not significant. The present study developed a moderated mediation model to examine whether narcissism was indirectly linked to self-posting behavior through body satisfaction and whether the relationship between body satisfaction and self-posting behavior was moderated by an attitude towards self-posting behavior. 

Many studies on attitude-behavior relationships have shown that positive attitudes play an important role in predicting the intention of individuals to conduct a target behavior in a variety of contexts. Although recent studies have shown that narcissism is associated with self-posting behavior, the mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying this relationship are little known. The aim of this study was to examine whether body satisfaction mediated the relationship between narcissism and self-posting and whether this mediation process was moderated by an attitude towards self-posting. A sample of 382 young Chinese adults completed questionnaires about narcissism, body satisfaction, self-posting and self-posting. The results showed that body satisfaction mediated the relationship between narcissism and selfie posturing… The results of this study emphasize the importance of identifying the mechanisms that moderate the mediated paths between narcissism and self-posting. Findings revealed four reasons for posting selfies on social networking sites: care, communication, archiving and entertainment. Users post pictures of all kinds to express their personalities, lifestyles and preferences, in particular selfies. Since Instagram’s first selfie hashtag in 2011, the selfie has received a lot of attention from the press and academia. Given the widespread selfie posting and the growing academic interest in the selfie phenomenon, there is an interesting question. What motivates people to take selfies on SNSs and post them? 

Although research into uses and gratifications suggests that motivations should be stronger than personality traits for SNS use, the investigation of selfie posting warrants attention to personality, as selfies are likely to reflect the identity of the taker as well as the direct form of public self-expression. The present study examined how self-posting motives and narcissism relate to actual self-posting behavior and the intention of future self-posting. The initial sample consisted of 319 respondents who were identified by the screening procedure as selfie takers / posters on SNSs. This research used both qualitative and quantitative approaches to identify motivations for selfie posting. In the first stage, detailed interviews were conducted with a group of 148 selfie posters. During the interview, participants were asked to provide as many motivations as they would associate with their sel?e posting on SNSs. The transcripts of the interviews were then content analyzed, which led to an initial pool of 66 items. A total of 38 unique statements describing why selfies were posted on SNSs have been retained. The refined set of 38 items was included in the main survey to examine the motivation of the participants to place themselves. Two items on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree ‘to ‘strongly agree ‘were evaluated in order to continue posting selfies on SNSs others. Given the popularity of selfies and the increasing number of usual selfie takers, individuals who consider selfie posting as a source of entertainment can engage in such behavior on a regular basis simply to meet their usual needs. The findings are consistent with recent research suggesting that narcissism is linked to the use of SNS and posting of selfies. Selfie posting is a new form of social behavior associated with the search for attention, communication, archiving and entertainment. Narcissists tend to post their sel?es more frequently and show greater intention to post than their counterparts.

Additionally, the Chilean National Socieconomic Characterization Survey (CASE) conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a two-wave, representative panel survey to determine whether narcissists take selfies as a way to maintain their positive self-esteem or whether users of selfies increase their narcissism levels. There are two very different perspectives that could explain a positive relationship between narcissism and SNS: narcissists use more social media or the use of SNSs produces higher levels of narcissism. In order to analyze the relationships between selfie behavior and narcissism over time, CASE estimated a cross-layered panel model in which synchronous and asynchronous associations between the key variables were calculated using structural equation modeling. To avoid the exhaustion of the respondents, they focused on four dimensions of NPI narcissism, which seemed closely linked to the selfie phenomenon. The cross-layered effect of narcissism at time 1 on the selfie behavior at time 2 was positive and significant after inertial effects and contemporary relationships were controlled. In the study, people with high levels of narcissism were engaged in frequent use of sel?es. Furthermore, we predict that if participants are exposed to selfie photos, then they will believe that an Instagram user 1). updates her profile picture more frequently, 2). posts to her social media accounts more often, and 3). seems more self-absorbed, selfish, narcissistic, and egotistical, compared to participants exposed to either groupie or professional photos, though these latter two conditions should not differ from each other in their Instagram user ratings. This study explores the question of when social media interaction is used? The results of three studies showed that the use of social media was rarely seen as social interaction. After 5 or 10 minutes of using social media, Study 1 showed that rare social media behavior predicts a social interaction and feeling.

Study 2 used event sampling to examine the social interactions of participants with friends and found that 96.5% of social interactions did not occur in the social media. Study 3 used experience sampling to record the experiences of participants over 5 days. The use of social media and social interaction occurred occasionally, but only 2% of social interactions occurred via social media. Social interactions through social media were usually talk-focused, one-on-one exchanges with closer relational partners, and rarely undifferentiated, broadcasted, or passively consumed information shared with acquaintances. Social media is only based on appearances the more an individual post the more narcissistic or egoistic is.


Chae, J. (2017). Virtual makeover: Selfie-taking and social media use increase selfie-editing frequency through social comparison. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 370-376. doi:

Hall, J. A. (2018). When is social media use social interaction? defining mediated social interaction. New Media & Society, 20(1), 162-179. doi:

Halpern, D., Valenzuela, S., & Katz, J. E. (2016). “Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfiers”?: A cross-lagged panel analysis of selfie taking and narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 97, 98-101. doi:

Sung, Y., Lee, J., Kim, E., & Choi, S. M. (2016). Why we post selfies: Understanding motivations for posting pictures of oneself. Personality and Individual Differences, 97, 260-265. doi:

Wang, Y., Xie, X., Wang, X., Wang, P., Nie, J., & Lei, L. (2018). Narcissism and selfie-posting behavior: The mediating role of body satisfaction and the moderating role of attitude toward selfie-posting behavior. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, doi:

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Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved July 1, 2022 , from

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