Facebook Might Be Tough on Users With Low Self-Esteem

Inundating friends with negative life details makes 'poster' less likeable, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Using Facebook can be bad for people with low self-esteem, a new study suggests.

Canadian researchers found people with low self-esteem deluge their Facebook friends with negative details about their lives, which makes them less likeable.

The findings, published online Feb. 7 in the journal Psychological Science, were unexpected, according to the researchers.

Many people with low self-esteem are uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings face-to-face, but Facebook enables them to do this remotely, explained study author Amanda Forest, a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario.

"We had this idea that Facebook could be a really fantastic place for people to strengthen their relationships," Forest said in a journal news release.

However, while people with low self-esteem may feel safer making personal disclosures on Facebook, doing so may actually cause them social harm.

"If you're talking to somebody in person and you say something, you might get some indication that they don't like it, that they're sick of hearing your negativity," Forest said.

But when people have a negative reaction to a post on Facebook, they tend to keep it to themselves.

"On Facebook, you don't see most of the reactions," Forest said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation explains how parents can help build their children's self-esteem.

SOURCE: Psychological Science, news release
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