Understanding social comparison, self-esteem and body image concerns of Instagram users : the impact of perceived ephemerality and permanency of Instagram content

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2021-05-10

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Kim, Soomin

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Abstract

Instagram, one of the fastest-growing social media networks, provides users with different features. Two primary Instagram features are Instagram posts and Instagram stories. Instagram post allows users to upload photos or videos and share them with their followers. The content stays on the users’ social media feed unless the content is deleted. Instagram story has an ephemeral nature as the content uploaded vanishes after 24 hours. This study was designed to examine individual's psychological constructs when using different Instagram messages. Social comparison, self-esteem, and body image concerns based on user's perception of ephemerality and permanency were examined. Instagram usage habits were examined as well, for both story and post. An online survey was distributed through the University of Texas at Austin’s advertising participant pool and linear regression was used through SPSS to find significant relationships. First, results demonstrated no significant relationship between the perceived permanency of Instagram posts, social comparison, self-esteem, and body image concerns as the content can be removed whenever the user desires. On the other hand, the perception of ephemerality on Instagram story negatively influenced social comparison and body image concerns while there was no significant relationship with self-esteem. Overall, the result of the present study aligns with previous research, as Instagram users who socially compare are likely to have lower self-esteem and have higher body image concerns.

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