Contingencies of Self-Worth and Social-Networking-Site Behavior

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Stefanone, Michael A.
Lackaff, Derek
Rosen, Devan

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Social-networking sites like Facebook enable people to share a range of personal information with expansive groups of "friends." With the growing popularity of media sharing online, many questions remain regarding antecedent conditions for this behavior. Contingencies of self-worth afford a more nuanced approach to variable traits that affect self-esteem, and may help explain online behavior. A total of 311 participants completed an online survey measuring such contingencies and typical behaviors on Facebook. First, exploratory factor analyses revealed an underlying structure to the seven dimensions of self-worth. Public-based contingencies explained online photo sharing (beta = 0.158, p < 0.01), while private-based contingencies demonstrated a negative relationship with time online (beta = -0.186, p < 0.001). Finally, the appearance contingency for self-worth had the strongest relationship with the intensity of online photo sharing (beta = 0.242), although no relationship was evident for time spent managing profiles.


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Stefanone, Michael A., Derek Lackaff, and Devan Rosen. "Contingencies of self-worth and social-networking-site behavior." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 14, no. 1-2 (Feb., 2011): 41-49.