New York: People who are insecure in their relationships are more actively engaged on Facebook – frequently posting on walls, commenting, updating their status or ‘liking’ something – in hopes of getting attention, scientists say. In two surveys of nearly 600 people ages 18-83, researchers at Union College in US asked participants about their tendencies in close relationships and their Facebook habits.
The research found that there are at least two kinds of active Facebook users: people who are higher in attachment anxiety, and people who are higher in extraversion. People who were higher in attachment anxiety – that is, they worry that other people don’t love them as much as they want to be loved, and are chronically concerned about rejection and abandonment – reported greater amounts of what the study refers to as “feedback seeking” on Facebook.
Because these people need a lot of reassurance that they are loved and are very sensitive to other people’s opinions about them, they turn to Facebook, with its 1.2 billion users, for feedback, according to the study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. “Compared to more secure people, those higher in attachment anxiety are more feedback sensitive,” said Joshua Hart, associate professor of psychology and the lead author of the study.
“They report feeling much better about themselves when they get a lot of comments, likes and other feedback on their posts and worse about themselves when their Facebook activity generates little attention,” Hart said. Researchers said extraverts’ reasons for active use are different from anxiously attached individuals’ inclination toward frequent and varied posting as a platform to get positive attention to compensate for insecurities.
More research is needed to determine the reasons behind extraverts’ active Facebook use, researchers said.