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Title: Social networking use in young people : the relationship with narcissism, empathy and self-esteem
Author: Reynolds, Catherine E.
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2015
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Background : Engagement with social networking sites (SNSs) (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) and celebrity culture has increased in recent years. SNSs and celebrity culture may be considered similar in that they encourage individuals to engage in a virtual world that may be removed from the reality of offline relationships and daily life. Alongside this cultural shift, concerns have been raised about the potential impact of such engagement on personality and behaviour. This concern is particularly evident for adolescents who are growing up with greater access to SNSs and celebrity culture and who are more likely to use SNSs regularly as a means of communicating and networking. Objective: This study explored the relationship between adolescents’ SNS usage and engagement with celebrity culture and personality traits (narcissism and empathy), self-esteem and participation in non-virtual activities. Design: A cross-sectional survey using correlation and regression analysis was conducted to explore the relationships between variables. Participants: In total 120 participants were recruited from two secondary schools based in the South of England. Participants included 62 girls and 57 boys aged from 11 to 18 years old (M = 15.48, SD = 2.09). Results: Overall, amount of SNS use and engagement with celebrity culture were not consistently significantly correlated with narcissism, empathy, self-esteem and participation in non-virtual activities. The findings also indicated that adolescents in this sample use various SNSs for different motivations. Whilst using Facebook and YouTube for self-promotion was significantly positively related to narcissism, using Twitter was not. Conclusions: These findings suggest that adolescents’ SNS use and engagement with celebrity culture is not consistently related to personality traits or self-esteem in this sample. In addition, adolescents’ engagement in this ‘virtual’ world did not seem to be at the expense of their participation in purposeful activities with others in real life. Although using some SNSs for self-promotion was associated with narcissism, this is not the case for all SNSs. These websites may also provide other important functions which may be beneficial for adolescents.
Supervisor: Simonds, L. M. Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available