Social media addicts may have traits of narcissism, study says

Social media addicts may have traits of narcissism, study says

The link between social media and its effects on our mental health is well established. Unfortunately, most of these point out a negative influence. Interestingly, our internal personality variables also influence the types of mental health conditions we are vulnerable to.

A study published in the Journal of Psychology brings some troubling news to our attention. The results indicated a positive correlation between traits of narcissism and nomophobia. Let’s break this further down.

Narcissism is a personality trait that is characterized by grandiosity, self-love, and a lack of empathy.

Nomophobia is an intense fear of being away from your digital devices, especially your phone. This correlation is an unfortunate testament to our dependence on media and the internet. It reminds us that we are constantly being influenced by the online world and it is essential to be aware of it.

The social world has a huge influence on who we are and how we are. (Image via Vecteezy/ Angger Riyanto Putra)
The social world has a huge influence on who we are and how we are. (Image via Vecteezy/ Angger Riyanto Putra)

Exploring how social media addicts have underlying traits of narcissism

Narcissism is a complex trait and it can influence your life in multiple ways. (Image via Vecteezy/ Ines Bazdar)
Narcissism is a complex trait and it can influence your life in multiple ways. (Image via Vecteezy/ Ines Bazdar)

To say that only individuals with narcissism can develop social media addiction would be a blanket statement. However, if you do have the traits of a narcissistic personality, you may be more prone to being in the social world. The world of social media has given us unlimited access to likes and comments.

Naturally, a narcissistic individual lives for this type of attention. They have a huge emotional bank to fulfill, and real-time interactions may not suffice. We are seeing a steep rise in the number of people using online social websites and apps. It provides a platform where you can be recognized and also one where you can develop behavioral addictions.

Since the platforms become so intrinsically rewarding, when taken away from a narcissist, it can create a lot of emotional struggles for them. It becomes their source of attention and validation; therefore, when taken away, they may experience nomophobia.

Social media breeds narcissism: Is this really the case?

Individuals with certain personality traits are more vulnerable to certain mental health conditions. (Image via Vecteezy/ YES studio)
Individuals with certain personality traits are more vulnerable to certain mental health conditions. (Image via Vecteezy/ YES studio)

Is the reverse true as well? Do online social platforms breed narcissism? This might be the case as well. Humans often engage in social comparison. On online platforms, these comparisons become very apparent.

For instance, you start comparing the number of likes, comments, travel plans, outfit checks, and basically everything on social media. While there are certain people giving reminders that everything on social media is not real, the effects are still profound.

In a way, media is constantly affecting what and how you feel about yourself. There is a common theory called the narcissism paradox. This means that individuals with narcissism struggle with their self-esteem but project a completely different self to the outside world.

It appears that social media and narcissism are indeed interlinked. However, they don’t share a causal relationship. By using media, you don’t develop the traits of a narcissist, but there are chances that you can. It is important to take a break from media and devices when you can.

This is not about policing our actions, but rather becoming aware of the content we consume. Try to think about the connection between social media and how you see yourself.

What do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments section below.

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