THURSDAY, JULY 14, 2016

#Selfie: Researchers find Instagram selfie posts tied to romantic relationship conflict

Jessica Ridgway, visiting assistant professor of Retail Merchandising and Product Development, and Russell Clayton, an assistant professor in the School of Communication.

Jessica Ridgway, visiting assistant professor of Retail Merchandising and Product Development, and Russell Clayton, an assistant professor in the School of Communication.

Kim Kardashian-wannabes of the world consider yourselves warned. 

Florida State University researchers have discovered the more selfies an individual posts on the social media site Instagram, the greater the likelihood he or she might experience romantic relationship conflict and dissolution. 

Jessica Ridgway, lead author and visiting assistant professor of Retail Merchandising and Product Development, and Russell Clayton, an assistant professor in the School of Communication, teamed up to examine the predictors and consequences associated with Instagram selfie posting. 

“Although we cannot directly assume cause and effect due to the correlational nature of this study, the results here show that body image satisfaction can be detrimental to Instagram users’ romantic relationships, especially when users’ body image satisfaction is promoted in the form of Instagram selfie posts,” Clayton said. 

The study, recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, contributes to a growing body of scholarly literature that has examined the predictors and consequences associated with using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 

With an online survey of 420 Instagram users between the ages of 18 to 62, the researchers found that Instagram selfie posting is associated with and predicted by an individual’s overall body image satisfaction. In other words, those who think they look good are more likely to post selfies. 

However, Instagram selfie posting behaviors were found to be associated with increased Instagram-related relationship conflict. The researchers defined Instagram-related conflict as jealousy and arguments occurring due to either or both partners’ Instagram selfie posting behaviors. 

Not surprisingly, Instagram-related conflict was found to be associated with increased negative romantic relationship outcomes, which were defined as emotional or physical infidelity, breakup and divorce. 

“The results from this study provide an avenue for future body image research,” Ridgway said. “For instance, future research could examine whether social media users post images of their actual selves or their virtual ideal selves, and whether such online behaviors are associated with similar negative outcomes found in our study.” 

In order to prevent negative relationship outcomes from arising, Ridgway and Clayton recommend that Instagram users limit their selfie-posting behaviors, especially when selfie-posting becomes problematic in a user’s romantic relationship.