Flourishing Independents or Languishing Interdependents: Two Paths from Self-Construal to Identification with Social Media

29 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014

See all articles by Donna L. Hoffman

Donna L. Hoffman

George Washington University School of Business

Thomas Novak

George Washington University School of Business

Randy Stein

University of California, Riverside

Date Written: January 22, 2012

Abstract

When do people consider their social media groups to be important to their identities? Despite the long history in social psychology of measuring importance of a particular group to one’s identity and the meteoric rise of social media usage, research has yet to address the relationship between social media usage and the value of group membership. Using a recently proposed approach to the estimation of conditional indirect effects, we demonstrate how peoples’ self-construal predicts identification with the groups they interact with when using social media (ISM). People with an interdependent self-construal who are low on psychological well-being achieve ISM by using social media to connect with other people, while people with an independent self-construal who are high on psychological well-being achieve ISM by using social media to interact with interest-relevant content. The path from both goals types to ISM is mediated by experienced positive affect from using social media. The conditional process, operating through interaction with content, explains how independents, ostensibly unconcerned with social roles, can achieve ISM. We discuss implications of ISM as well as how social media usage has the potential to change the way people relate to the groups to which they belong.

Keywords: collective self-esteem, social media, group identification, identity, self-construal self-concept

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Donna L. and Novak, Thomas and Stein, Randy, Flourishing Independents or Languishing Interdependents: Two Paths from Self-Construal to Identification with Social Media (January 22, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1990584 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1990584

Donna L. Hoffman (Contact Author)

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://postsocial.gwu.edu

Thomas Novak

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
9515431592 (Phone)

Randy Stein

University of California, Riverside ( email )

900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

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