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Social networks may inflate self-esteem, reduce self-control
Date:1/14/2013

PITTSBURGH/NEW YORKJanuary 14, 2013 Users of Facebook and other social networks should beware of allowing their self-esteemboosted by "likes" or positive comments from close friendsto influence their behavior: It could reduce their self-control both on and offline, according to an academic paper by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School that has recently been published online in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Titled "Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control," the research paper demonstrates that users who are focused on close friends tend to experience an increase in self-esteem while browsing their social networks; afterwards, these users display less self-control. Greater social network use among this category of users with strong ties to their friends is also associated with individuals having higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt, according to the paper.

"To our knowledge, this is the first research to show that using online social networks can affect self-control," said coauthor Andrew T. Stephen, assistant professor of business administration and Katz Fellow in Marketing in the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration. "We have demonstrated that using today's most popular social network, Facebook, may have a detrimental affect on people's self-control."

Stephen coauthored the research with Keith Wilcox, assistant professor of marketing at Columbia Business School. The paper includes the results of five separate studies conducted with a total of more than 1,000 U.S. Facebook users.

In the researchers' initial study, participants completed surveys about how closely they're connected to friends on Facebook. Then they were split into two groups: one group that wrote about the experience of browsing Facebook and another group that actually browse
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Contact: Evan Nowell
egn2109@columbia.edu
212-851-9147
Columbia Business School
Source:Eurekalert

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