Over­do­ing the self­ies linked to sub­se­quent in­crease in nar­cis­sism

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JEN­NIFER COCKERELL

Ex­ces­sive use of so­cial me­dia – in par­tic­u­lar the post­ing of im­ages and self­ies – has been linked to a sub­se­quent in­crease in nar­cis­sism, re­search has found.

The study au­thors warned their find­ings could mean up to a fifth of the pop­u­la­tion could be at risk of de­vel­op­ing such nar­cis­sis­tic traits as­so­ci­ated with their ex­ces­sive vis­ual so­cial me­dia use.

Re­searchers from Swansea Univer­sity and Mi­lan Univer­sity stud­ied the per­son­al­ity changes of 74 in­di­vid­u­als aged 18 to 34 over a four­month pe­riod.

They also as­sessed the par­tic­i­pants’ us­age of so­cial me­dia – in­clud­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, In­sta­gram and Snapchat – dur­ing the pe­riod.

Those­w­house­d­so­cial­me­dia ex­ces­sively, through vis­ual post­ings, dis­played an aver­age 25 per­cent in­crease in such nar­cis­sis­tic traits over the four months of the study.

This in­crease took many of th­ese par­tic­i­pants above the clin­i­cal cut-off for nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, ac­cord­ing to the mea­sure­ment scale used.

Nar­cis­sism is a per­son­al­ity char­ac­ter­is­tic that can in­volve grandiose ex­hi­bi­tion­ism, be­liefs re­lat­ing to en­ti­tle­ment, and ex­ploit­ing oth­ers.

The study found that those who pri­mar­ily used so­cial me­dia for ver­bal post­ings, such as Twit­ter, did not show th­ese ef­fects.

How­ever, in this group of par­tic­i­pants, their ini­tial lev­els of nar­cis­sism pre­dicted a growth in this form of so­cial me­dia us­age over time.

The more nar­cis­sis­tic they were to be­gin with, the more ver­bal post­ings they made later.

All but one of the peo­ple in the study used so­cial me­dia, and their aver­age use was around three hours a day, ex­clud­ing us­age for work. Some re­ported us­ing so­cial me­dia for as much as eight hours a day for non-work re­lated pur­poses.

Face­book was used by 60 per cent of par­tic­i­pants, while 25 per cent used In­sta­gram, and 13 per cent used Twit­ter and Snapchat each. More than two-thirds of the par­tic­i­pants pri­mar­ily used so­cial me­dia for post­ing im­ages.

Prof Phil Reed, from Swansea Univer­sity’s Depart­ment of Psy­chol­ogy, led the re­search.

He said: “There have been sug­ges­tions of links be­tween nar­cis­sism and the use of vis­ual post­ings on so­cial me­dia, such as Face­book, but, un­til this study, it was not known if nar­cis­sists use this form of so­cial me­dia more, or whether us­ing such plat­forms is as­so­ci­ated with the sub­se­quent growth in nar­cis­sism.”

The study is pub­lished in The Open Psy­chol­ogy Jour­nal.

news­deskts@scots­man.com

Taking self­ies and post­ing them on so­cial me­dia could be linked to the on­set of nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, say ex­perts

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