A very interesting study suggests that excessive use of social media – especially posting of selfies and images – may be associated with a development or increase in narcissism.
Study suggests excessive use of social media associated with narcissism
Narcissism is a personality characteristic that is characterized by extreme selfishness, a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.
The study was conducted by Swansea University and Milan University, and looked at changes in personality over a four-month time period. 74 participants took part in the study – ages 18 – 34. Social media usage – including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter – was assessed during the time period.
This group demonstrated a 25 percent increase in narcissistic traits over the four-month period
Individuals using social media excessively, especially through visual posting, were seen to demonstrate on average a 25 percent increase in narcissistic traits over the four-month period. This increase actually put many of the participants of the study above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include, an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement.
Study noted that these individuals did not show the same changes in personality
The study noted that individuals who used social media primarily for verbal posting – such as Twitter – did not show the same changes in personality.
The number of hours spent on social media was thought to be representative of the general population, with only one person not using social media. The average use was around three hours daily, which excluded usage for work. However, some participants reported as much as eight hours daily.
Predominant social media platform used was Facebook and Instagram
The predominant social media platform used was Facebook (60%) followed by Instagram (25%). Over two-thirds of participants used the social media platforms for posting images.
Professor Phil Reed from the Department of Psychology at Swansea University and who led the study, said, “[t]here have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media, such as Facebook, but, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism.
“The results of this study suggest that both occur, but show that posting selfies can increase narcissism
“Taking our sample as representative of the population, which there is no reason to doubt, this means that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with their excessive visual social media use.
“That the predominant usage of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests the growth of this personality problem could be seen increasingly more often, unless we recognize the dangers in this form of communication.”
Professor Roberto Truzoli from Milan University added, “[t]he use of visual social media may emphasize the perception of narcissistic individuals that they are the main focus of attention.
“The lack of immediate ‘direct’ social censure, may offer them the opportunity to inflict aspects of their narcissistic personality, present themselves in a grandiose manner, and realize fantasies of omnipotence.”
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.