Are women using Facebook to feel better about themselves?
A new study suggests it might be so. University at Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone and others found that not only do women share more photos on Facebook, but that they generally base their self-worth more strongly on their appearance. As a result, Stefanone believes that sharing photos on Facebook may be a way for women to try and boost their self-image.
"The results suggest persistent differences in the behavior of men and women that result from a cultural focus on female image and appearance," he said in a video interview.
Based on a survey of 311 college age participants, the study measured both how participants used Facebook, as well as the factors they based their self-esteem upon. While some based it on public contingencies like appearance and the approval of others, the remainder based it more upon private contingences, like family love, or personal virtue.
Women, as well as younger participants, tended to favor public contingencies, as well as to spend more time on Facebook and to share more photos. Generally, those basing self-worth on private contingencies spent less time online.
"The culture of celebrity... offers signiﬁcantly more appearance-based rewards and penalties to women than to men," the study said.