Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (SLOVAKIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 11680-11685
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.2443
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The use of social media has become an integral part of people´s lives. Among young people, Instagram has risen in popularity, reaching 1,5 million of users in Slovakia in 2020, 32% of which represents young people in emerging adulthood. While social media brings new opportunities for innovations, learning and creativity, concerns about potential negative effects on young people´s mental health have emerged. Research has suggested both positive (emotional support, lower loneliness, access to information) and negative effects (higher depression, anxiety, cyberbullying) of social media use on mental health and well-being of adolescents and emerging adults.

The aim of the present study was to analyze the association between the social media use (particularly Instagram) and optimal functioning in university students. We examined the role of self-compassion as a potential buffer of negative effect of Instagram use (time spent on Instagram and level of social comparison) on optimal functioning of university students.

The sample consisted of 309 university students in Slovakia (Mage=21,77, SD=2,12), 80% women and 20% men. To measure self-compassion, optimal functioning (model PERMA), and social comparison on Instagram, self-report questionnaires were utilized. Time spent on Instagram was measured as an objective criterium obtained from Instagram application.

Results indicated no association between time spent on Instagram and optimal functioning and self-compassion of university students. However, there were significant negative (weak to moderate) correlations between social comparison on Instagram and optimal functioning and self-compassion. Results suggested no moderating effect of self-compassion on the relationship between Instagram use and optimal functioning among emerging adults.
Despite noteworthy limitation, this study elucidated the implications of Instagram use on optimal functioning of university students.
Social media use, optimal functioning, self-compassion, university students.