Psychology of Self Esteem: Impact of Social Media on Health

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Psychology of Self Esteem: Impact of Social Media on Health


Conducted by a behavioral psychologist, Clarissa Silva, for The Huffington Post

A in-depth interview with men and women, ranging from ages 28-73, that are active social media users, and found that:

60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way, 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships, and 80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media

Social Comparison Theory

Humans are social creatures by nature and as social creatures, comparison to others is inevitable – People use social comparisons to validate their own lives, sometimes unknowingly

The social comparison theory describes how people self-evaluate themselves based on social comparisons to others and encompasses the idea that individuals have a drive to gain accurate self-evaluations about themselves through the comparison of others

With the emergence of so many different types of social media, platforms for social comparison are increasing

Instead of just being able to compare oneself to a person standing in the same room, there are now many social media outlets to exacerbate comparisons with millions of people

Creating Perfect Illusions

Paradox Effect

The paradox effect involves creating the illusion of having more social engagement, social capital, and popularity, but masking one’s true persona – with social media, we are creating an illusion of a life that isn’t real through our online profiles

The person you portray on social media and the true you, can create a double consciousness – Your self on social media is constantly seeking more validation through electronic likes, not life

Social media users forget to take into account that a lot of what they are seeing is carefully orchestrated , fake – It’s not real life.

Everyone, friends, family, and ourselves tend to only post the best versions of ourselves and our lives

The post you see is most likely the best out of a shoot of 100 – people create perfect illusions of themselves online because they seek attention and want to be viewed positively.

No one’s true, unaltered life is ever accurately represented on social media


Social media becomes an extension of our identity – That makes our posts, pictures, and activities like virtual possessions or pieces of ourselves. make perfect photos, increase our popularity, have the nicest profile, and get the most views and likes

Makes us feel anxiety over how many likes we get after we post a picture – When we post something that doesn’t get a lot of likes, we can feel rejected, which causes our self-worth to take a hit

Getting more “likes” than someone else will cause positive feelings of self-worth, while getting fewer “likes” will cause negative feelings of self-worth. A “like” occurs when – and is a way for – an individual to communicate their approval – like an easier visual of approval

Interruption of Life

The good, healthy things about life, like hanging out with friends and family, learning something new in school, watching your kids in a play, or seeing something beautiful in nature, are often interrupted by our social media lives

We are not fully engaged in the healthy activities of life because we want to document them to make us look interesting on social media and we become detached from reality


1) Social Media’s Impact On Self-Esteem | HuffPost. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2) “Likes” for Self-Love? The Effects of Social Media on Self-Perception Retrieved from

3) To like, or not to like: how social media affects self-esteem | The Sundial. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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