A recent meta-analysis examined the relationship between various Internet uses and well being. The studies published until know is mostly about the discussion whether using Internet for communication with e-mail replaces other forms of communication such as using the phone, chat or face to face contact. Contact through e-mail, facebook, twitter and such replaces real life contact and this is believed to be a bad thing. It reduces the quality of contact, make it more unpersonalized with lack of feelings and commitment. The other hypothesis is that use of Internet with e-mail, facebook, and twitter facilitates the use of the phone, and face to face contact. This can increase well-being through social interaction. These two hypotheses are called the displacement and augmentation hypotheses for well being through the Internet.
Results from previous studies supported both hypotheses. Moreover, the relationship between Internet use and well-being is complicated. The relationships also depends on the type of Internet use and the conditions under which Internet is used. Do you use Internet for social, instrumental or leisure activities? You’ll probably use Internet different when depressed compared to it’s use when not depressed. Internet use and well being might also be influenced by gender and age.
The meta analysis was done on articles found with the key words: Internet, depression, loneliness, self-esteem, self-concept, life-satisfaction, and well-being. the authors also looked at the various confounding factors of the relationship between Internet use and well-being such as type of internet use, indicators of well-being, type of measures used to measure quality of Internet use, age and gender.
They used 40 studies involving 21258 participants. Statistical analysis suggested heterogeneity of the included studies. If any detrimental effect of Internet use on well-being was present it was very small. Moreover, non of the confounders or moderators could explain the variation in the relationship between Internet use and well-being. The heterogeneity indicates that caution is required when generalizing these results.
The authors do have valuable suggestions for future studies:
cross-sectional and longitudinal studies assessing the relationship between Internet use and psychological well-being at different life stages may reveal interesting differences in the consequences of Internet use
Until than, Internet use is part of life with advantages and disadvantages depending on several circumstances that probably have nothing to do with the Internet as such.
Huang, C. (2009). Internet Use and Psychological Well-being: A Meta-Analysis CyberPsychology & Behavior DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0217
People with low self-esteem are less inclined to take measures to improve their mood as in contrast to people with high self-esteem. People with high self-esteem are more motivated to improve a sad mood. Take this recognizable striking example:
Holly and Lucy, who share an apartment in Toronto, are each feeling down in the dumps after a bad day at work. To lift her spirits, Holly calls a friend to arrange a night out. She encourages Lucy to join them, pointing out that eating at their favorite restaurant and watching a new comedy movie should make Lucy feel better. Lucy knows that this is true but declines, saying she is “just not in the mood.”
Recent research hypothesized that people with low self-esteem (LSEs) feel less deserving of positive affect— happiness, joy, pleasure, and so forth—than do people with high self-esteem (HSEs) and that feeling relatively undeserving dampens their motivation to lift themselves out of a sad mood. This hypothesis as based on the theory that the more people regard themselves as possessing positive characteristics, as honorable, and as likable, the more they should believe that they themselves deserve desirable outcomes. This assumption is based on the social justice literature and the sociometer theory. In the sociometer theory one’s self-esteem—is largely a reflected appraisal of other people’s judgments. People determine their own “worth” by how much they think they are valued by the social community.
How was this study done?
Four experiments with undergraduate participants involved a sad mood induction, a manipulation of personal deservingness, or both.
From the first experiment, the induction of sad mood, it was learned that when they are sad, HSEs and LSEs differ: LSEs report being less motivated to feel better, less deserving of a good mood, and feeling that their sad mood is more typical of them. LSEs and HSEs do not differ in their mood regulation when they are in neutral mood states, but only when they experience a departure from that affective baseline—in the sad direction.
LSEs appear to be less motivated than HSEs to improve their moods, then, in part because they have more doubts about whether they deserve to feel better and in part because they are more accustomed to sad moods.
In the other experiments deservingness was manipulated. In experiment 2 rejection was invoked on the participants by asking them and make them imagine situations in which rejection played a role and focusing on personal flaws. LSEs in the rejection condition felt less deserving than did LSEs in the neutral condition, but HSEs did not differ between conditions.
In the third experiment although the rejection condition undermined both LSEs’ and HSEs’ feelings of deservingness, HSEs managed to maintain their motivation to improve their mood. Low feelings of deservingness are not a barrier to mood repair for HSEs.
In experiment 4, they induced sad moods in all participants, manipulated their feelings of deservingness through the same manipulation as in experiments 2 and 3, and measured their motivation to improve their moods by letting the participants select a videotape to watch from an array of videotapes that varied in their mood-enhancing potential. They predicted that participants in the rejection condition would be less interested in watching a funny videotape than those in the neutral condition because they would feel relatively undeserving of a better mood. In this experiment rejection participants expressed less motivation to watch the comedy video than did neutral participants.
In summary, Study 4 yielded experimental evidence for deservingness beliefs as a contributor to LSEs’ relatively low motivation to improve sad moods. Sad LSE participants induced to feel especially undeserving of desirable outcomes expressed less interest in doing something to lift their spirits than did sad LSE participants not so induced. This finding indicates that feelings of low deservingness underlie, at least in part, LSEs’ relatively low motivation to improve sad moods.
People with LSEs feel less deserving of positive outcomes and of positive moods than do HSEs, feelings of personal deservingness can vary with the situation, and be lowered through reminders of social rejection and personal flaws, and feeling relatively undeserving dampens LSEs’, but not HSEs’, motivation to repair sad moods.
Depressed patients compared to LSE’s and HSE’s when given a choice between receiving relatively favorable or unfavorable feedback, preferred unfavorable feedback. In contrast, high self-esteem participants preferred favorable feedback, and low self-esteem participants preferred favorable and unfavorable feedback equally. It is unclear whether this is a state or a trait characteristic for depressed patients. Follow up research previous to the depression and assessment after recovery are needed.
Now why is this important?
This kind of research demystifies certain basic assumptions and negative feelings in depressed patients. These theories could be good starting points for psychotherapy, what do you think?
Joanne V. Wood, Sara A. Heimpel, Laurie A. Manwell, Elizabeth J. Whittington (2009). This mood is familiar and I don’t deserve to feel better anyway: Mechanisms underlying self-esteem differences in motivation to repair sad moods. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96 (2), 363-380 DOI: 10.1037/a0012881
Self-verification in clinical depression: The desire for negative evaluation. Giesler, R. Brian; Josephs, Robert A.; Swann Jr., William B.Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol 105(3), Aug 1996, 358-368.
Higher emotional intelligence discourages using MySpace for romance. Low self esteem encourages young adults in using MySpace for romance.
Romance being in this study: Romantic communication is conceptualized as looking for dates and building intimate relationships
MySpace users can create a homepage that includes favorite pictures, music, television shows, and books. MySpace has more than 100 million members, mostly teens and young adults. MySpace is a large online socialization network.
The sample under study consisted of 240 under graduate students who were a member of MySpace. The average age was 20, 81 were juniors, 76 were seniors, and the rest were freshmen and sophomores.
Several scales were used to measure self-esteem and emotional intelligence.
A Likert scale was used to measure romantic communication with seven statements, including “Most of my conversations on MySpace are intimate,” “I use MySpace to look for a romantic partner,” and “I would date someone I met on MySpace.”
Emotional intelligence (EI) is an individual’s ability to understand and regulate his or her emotional responses both internally and in others. Self-esteem is an individual’s perception of himself or herself.
This study focused only on looking for intimate partners and building intimate relationships. The sample size was small and consisted of American sholars, this limits the generalizability.
Qingwen Dong, Mark A. Urista, Duane Gundrum (2008). The Impact of Emotional Intelligence, Self-Esteem, and Self-Image on Romantic Communication over MySpace CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11 (5), 577-578 DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0154