An Empirical Study of Discontinuous Use Intention on SNS: From a Perspective of Society Comparison Theory

사회비교이론 관점에서 살펴본 SNS 이용중단 의도

  • Received : 2015.07.28
  • Accepted : 2015.08.19
  • Published : 2015.08.31


Social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook, provide abundant social comparison opportunities. Given the widespread use of SNSs, the purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of exposure to social media-based social comparison on user's negative emotions and discontinuous use intention on SNS. We present evidence that under the use of SNS, social comparison activities diverge into three patterns, with explicit self-evaluation desire made against similar target (lateral comparison), self-defense desire made against less fortunate target (downward comparison), and self-enhancement desire made with more fortunate target (upward comparison). Such social comparison processes frequently arise, as people are increasingly using on SNSs, the downward contacts ameliorating self-esteem with positive emotions, but the upward contacts and standard contacts with lateral status enabling a person to compare his or her situation with others and simultaneously increase negative emotions due to its differences with others. In other words, as people increasingly relying on SNSs for a variety of everyday tasks, they risk overexposure to upward or standard social comparison information that may have a cumulative detrimental impact on future intention on SNS use. This study with survey with 209 SNS users found that these negative emotions lead to negative fatigue (attitude) and then discontinuous use intention (behavior) on SNS. Our findings are among the first to explicitly examine discontinuous use intention on SNS using social comparison theory and our results are consistent with those of past research showing that upward social comparisons can be detrimental.


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