Adolescents’ Narcissism on Facebook

We already discussed Narcissism on Facebook for adults, this research is a bout a more vulnerable group of facebook users: adolescents. This study examined the personality traits extraversion and narcissism as manifested in certain features of adolescents’ Facebook profiles. These features were profile picture rating (rating of their physical appearance in profile picture), facebook status updates per week, and the number of Facebook friends.

When taking into account the personality trait extraversion which often coincide with narcissism, results indicate in this research that narcissism predicts a higher self rating of Facebook profile picture, it also predicts a higher frequency of updating Facebook status. Narcissism did not predict more Facebook friends nor having more photos on Facebook. They also measured extraversion since this character trait often is present with narcissism in adolescents. Extraversion could be a confounder in this research since extraversion also has an effect on engagement in online self representation. In this study as compared to less extraverted adolescents, more extraverted adolescents engaged in greater self-presentation through all four features, as expected. After accounting for extraversion the manifestation of solely narcissism could be found for self-representation through self generated content.

So how cool and glamorous is your profile picture?

The Facebook profile picture is one type of self-generated content. Even after accounting for extraversion, more narcissistic adolescents rated their Facebook profile pictures as more physically attractive, more fashionable, more glamorous and more cool than their less narcissistic peers did.

The more narcisistic adolescents more frequently updated their Facebook status, they probably enjoy the self-presentational nature of social networks more. When corrected for extraversion number of friends and number of photos posted did not predict narcissism.

The authors warn against increasing narcissism in adolescents due to these social networks. They’re afraid that this behavior could fuel this tendency. To my opinion this is grossly exaggerated, other influences before their ability to use online social networks could be probably more responsible. Being an adolescent could also account for a great deal of their behavior. As discussed previously on this blog during adolescence the personality has to mature a lot. Even their brains are still maturing during adolescence. Moreover, this research has some limitations, it’s about correlation not causation, it used a selection of features of Facebook, and it relied mostly on self report.
Ong, E., Ang, R., Ho, J., Lim, J., Goh, D., Lee, C., & Chua, A. (2010). Narcissism, extraversion and adolescents’ self-presentation on Facebook Personality and Individual Differences DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.09.022