The Effects of Social Media Use and Self-esteem on Possible Selves Throughout Adolescence

Rachel Elaine Besharat Mann, Fordham University


With the increase of social media use for identity building behaviors such as self-presentation and social comparison, many researchers have investigated the effects of social media on self-concept development during adolescence. The possible selves framework posits self-concept as different versions of oneself to be avoided or attained, which have been shown to affect behavior, particularly during adolescence. Balance amongst these selves along domains increased their motivational effects. Thus far, there has been little to no research on possible self ideation and balance within the context of social media amongst adolescents. This study will address this gap by investigating the relative contributions of age, self-esteem, social media use, online self-presentation behaviors, and online social comparison tendencies to the ideation of balanced possible selves among adolescents. Participants were 152 adolescents ranging in age from 11 to 18. The results of a sequential regression analysis, regressing the balance of possible selves on each of the independent variables were not significant. A chi square analysis revealed differences amongst males and females in the content of feared selves. Females reported more feared selves involving interpersonal relationships. Though the regression model did not support the hypotheses, the frequency analysis indicated a difference in domains amongst male and female participants, demonstrating the need for further exploration of possible selves in the digital context. Possible self-imagery has been shown to be predictors of delinquent behavior and poor academic performance in adolescence and may be remedied if assessed early on.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Mann, Rachel Elaine Besharat, "The Effects of Social Media Use and Self-esteem on Possible Selves Throughout Adolescence" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27743668.