Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020

Published In

The Undergraduate Journal Of Psychology At Berkeley


Several studies demonstrate that individuals carry out observable behaviors in order to achieve positive self-concepts. These behaviors can be related to engagements with social media. Thus, two studies tested whether the sharing of self-relevant symbols on user-heavy social media platforms is an engagement used to achieve positive self-concepts. In these studies, participants viewed resumes (Study 1) or Linkedin profiles (Study 2) intended to threaten their self-definition and then considered their own accomplishments in comparison. They were then asked to rate and choose one article, either relevant or irrelevant to their self-definition, to hypothetically share on their own social media page based on attractiveness. In Study 1, a high threat to participants’ self-definition led them to report goal-irrelevant articles as less attractive to share on social media. In Study 2, the data displayed varied results for relevant and irrelevant social media sharing, depending on the stimulus type. Participants' self-definition goals moderated the effect in Study 2. Discrepancies in study findings are discussed in the context of the self-evaluation maintenance and symbolic self-completion theory.


Social media, self, self-regulation, social comparison, self-esteem

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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