Do Our Facebook Friends Make Us Feel Worse? A Study of Social Comparison and Emotion

Jiangmeng Liu, Cong Li, Nick Carcioppolo, Michael North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


People often compare themselves to others to gain a better understanding of the self in a process known as social comparison. The current study discusses how people engage in a social comparison process on Facebook, and how observing content from their Facebook friends may affect their emotions. A 2 (comparison direction) × 2 (relational closeness) × 2 (self-esteem) between-subjects experiment was conducted with 163 adult participants. The results revealed a significant 3-way interaction such that people with high self-esteem would be happier receiving positive information than negative information from their close friends, but the effect would be the opposite if the information was from a distant friend. There was no such difference for people with low self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-640
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Emotion
  • Facebook
  • Relational Closeness
  • Self-Esteem
  • Social Comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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