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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Qingwen Dong

First Committee Member

Heather Hether

Second Committee Member

Paul Turpin


This study examines the social networking website, Facebook and uses an experimental design to determine the relationship between two variables: self-esteem and social comparison. The study also examines the relationship between the variables of identification and similarity as a process of social comparison. Sixty-five students from a small, private University located in the northwestern United States participated in a classical pretest-posttest experiment consisting of two groups. The treatment in this study was a Facebook account that was designed to induce feelings of upward social comparison amongst the participants through the use of status updates, photos and comments from a female college student. The self-esteem and social comparison levels of the participants were measured after viewing the Facebook treatment to determine whether or not the participants experienced a change in their self-esteem, as a result of engaging in upward social comparison with the Facebook treatment. The degree to which the participants identified with the Facebook treatment and also the degree to which the participants viewed the Facebook treatment as someone who was similar to themselves was also measured to determine whether or not identification and similarity play a role in social comparison. The results revealed that the participants did not experience a significant decrease in self-esteem after viewing the Facebook treatment. Furthermore, a correlation analysis indicated no significant relationship between the identification and similarity variables and the self-esteem and social comparison variables. However, additional findings revealed a significant correlation between high self-esteem and downward social comparison. Implications and suggestions for future research are also discussed regarding the relationship between self-esteem and social comparison on Facebook.





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