Facebook Use Among Romanian Graduate Students. Influences on Self-esteem and Feelings of Loneliness

Oana ȘTEFĂNIȚĂ, Georgiana UDREA, Flavia DURACH, Nicoleta CORBU


Nowadays, the perceived impact of social networking sites, es-pecially Facebook, is a more and more disputed topic among researchers affiliated not only to the domain of media and communication studies, but also to social psychology. This paper investigates the uses of Face-book among Romanian graduate students with a focus on how the online activity reflects on self-esteem and on the feeling of loneliness. Previous studies investigated the relationship between Facebook use and loneli-ness, providing evidence for both the benefits and the shortcomings of online networking. However, the direction of influence between the time spent on Facebook and coping with loneliness remains unclear: does Facebook usage diminishes or accentuate loneliness and depression? At the same time, several studies suggest a correlation between Facebook usage and self-esteem. High levels of engagement on Facebook are associated with patterns of intense self-disclosure and lead to harsh social comparisons and negative feelings about self. In this context, we aim at providing evidence to clarify the direction of influence of Facebook on loneliness and to better understand the relationship between online networking and self-esteem, in a very specific cultural context (Romanian), for young educated people. Findings suggest only some specific ways of using Facebook rather help coping with feelings of loneliness, most social interaction on this platform remaining rather shallow and meaningless. At the same time, Facebook seems to affect (both in a positive and a negative way) self-esteem, but only on a short term, and with few possible consequences.

Keywords: Facebook usage; Social comparison; Self-esteem; Loneliness; Facebook engagement

DOI: 10.24193/jmr.30.1