Inspired by Friends: Adolescents' Network Homophily Moderates the Relationship between Social Comparison, Envy, and Inspiration on Instagram

NOON, Edward and MEIER, A. (2019). Inspired by Friends: Adolescents' Network Homophily Moderates the Relationship between Social Comparison, Envy, and Inspiration on Instagram. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 22 (12), 787-793.

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© Copyright 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Research on the negative psycho-emotional implications of social comparisons on social network sites such as Instagram has rapidly accumulated in recent years. However, little research has considered the extent to which such comparisons can elicit positive motivational outcomes for adolescent users, specifically inspiration. Furthermore, little is known about whether it matters whom young people compare themselves to on Instagram (i.e., network composition) and how this may modulate the emotional outcomes of Instagram social comparisons. The present study thus sought to determine how adolescents' Instagram comparisons of ability associate with inspiration through the mechanism of benign and malicious envy. We further examined whether two key aspects of network composition - perceived similarity and the amount of strangers followed - moderated these relationships. Results from a paper survey among n = 266 British adolescents confirm the hypothesis that those adolescents who compare more strongly on Instagram also report more inspiration from Instagram use. While benign envy positively mediated this relationship, malicious envy worked in the opposite direction, indicating the need to distinguish these two types of envy in future research. In addition, while the amount of strangers followed did not significantly affect the relationships between social comparison, envy, and inspiration, higher perceived network homophily positively moderated the relationship between social comparison and inspiration by eliciting more benign and less malicious envy. Results overall suggest that social comparisons on Instagram may be more inspiring when adolescents compare themselves to similar others and avoid unachievable false role models in their online networks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Instagram; social comparison; envy; inspiration; homophily; strangers; Instagram; envy; homophily; inspiration; social comparison; strangers; Adolescent; Emotions; Female; Friends; Humans; Jealousy; Male; Motivation; Peer Influence; Social Behavior; Social Media; Surveys and Questionnaires; United Kingdom; Young Adult; Humans; Social Behavior; Emotions; Jealousy; Motivation; Adolescent; Friends; Female; Male; Young Adult; Social Media; Surveys and Questionnaires; Peer Influence; United Kingdom; 0806 Information Systems; 1701 Psychology; 1702 Cognitive Sciences; Clinical Psychology
Identification Number:
Page Range: 787-793
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2021 16:02
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2021 16:15

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