Research Study/Scholarly Critique — “Facebook-self” by Oren Gil-Or, Yossi Levi-Belz and Ofir Turel

Introduction — Summary of the Literature

The research article is a 2015 publication by Oren Gil-Or, Yossi Levi-Belz and Ofir Turel, whose intentions were to introduce the concept of “Facebook-self” as a significant potential driver of psychological issues people experience due to social media interactions. The aim of the researchers was also meant to determine key psychological factors that may possibly drive the creation and maintenance of Facebook-self. The study’s uniqueness from previous explorations is the aspect of connecting Facebook-self to users’ upbringing, whereby concepts of anxious and avoidant attachments play a major role in analyzing the participants.

In applying ANOVA and SEM analyses on 258 participants, the researchers noticed that Facebook-self is highly influenced by a person’s social interactions in the real world (offline). The study further makes a viable connection between a person’s upbringing to Facebook-self, which can either be false or true representation of their selves. Despite achieving its objectives, the study characterizes limitations, which require critiquing, analysis and possible improvements the researchers would have done, hence the aim of this critique.

Critique of Methodology

The methodology followed an improvised and effective research model, which is clearly described in a pictorial depiction, and it touches on aspects of anxious-avoidant attachment, self-esteem, authenticity and their effects (positive or negative) on Facebook-self. The study’s data is entirely reliant on questionnaires the 258 participants answered. Although the questions were extensive and thorough, the biggest limitation was to rely on the answers provided by the participants. The researchers should have provided a margin of error on genuine or untrue answers by the participants. On sampling the 258 participants, the study lacks adequate statistical power because 74.7 percent were women and only 25.3 percent were men whilst 13 of the participants did not specify their sex.

Furthermore, the demographic variable of the study only focused only on the participants’ educational background, which is an indication of an inadequate sampling strategy. Other than inadequate statistical power and a deficient sampling strategy, the researchers did not explain the process of acquiring these participants. Despite these inadequacies, the report followed a correlational methodology and a cross-sectional research design (Ruijsbroek et al., 2018). Moreover, the sampling is justifiable because the participants were all active users of Facebook. Regarding IRB approval, the study lacks this explanation, which makes it easy to assume the researchers did not seek permission of the participants. As suggested by Nakagawa et al. (2017), IRB statements are not only important for the research, but it also protects the researchers, and thus the three researchers should have made it possible to include this information in their study.

Critique of Results

With the ANOVA tests in place, the researchers managed to prove their hypotheses on anxious-avoidant attachment whereby women were found to experience higher levels at (M = 3.26, SD = 1.04) compared to men at (M = 2.79, SD = 1.0). The levels of anxiety were also different as per the marital statuses such that a Post Hoc Scheffe test confirmed higher levels in anxiety levels amongst unmarried participants at (M = 3.23, SD = 1.08). Moreover, as hypothesized by the researchers, self-esteem amongst non-Bachelor degree holders indicated higher levels compared to those with Bachelors and Masters Levels of education.

Similar results were seen in participants with lower income salaries, which further link the results to the methodologies. The results further make the vital correlation between anxiety-avoidant attachments to fake Facebook-self practices. That is, the researchers made use of the Cronbach Alphas scales in determining the contribution of personality characteristic to Facebook-self levels amongst the participants (De Vet et al., 2017). Because of this, the study’s participation rates were adequate for the determination of differential attrition. The research’s use of tables and histograms was very effectual in explaining the qualitative findings and thus making it easy to read.

Critique of Discussion

No doubt, the article’s discussion is spot on and reflects the literature review, whereby the objectives of the research are reiterated. That is, the study’s aim was to determine potential psychological factors that drive the creation and maintenance of Facebook-self. The discussion also makes a strong correlation between Facebook-self to aspects of anxiety-avoidant attachments, which is developed during a person’s upbringing. As expected of any discussion section, this particular article extensively describes the methodological limitations (Ramirez et al., 2018). Better yet, the study makes suggestions on what future studies should focus on; for instance, Facebook-self does not apply to everyone who uses the social media platform. Although Facebook-self is a concept that can result in negative psychological problems, it is imperative to make comparisons with an individual’s upbringing.

Regarding implications for further studies, this research does exactly that, and recommends future studies to examine the psychological issues and provide solutions to Facebook-self. The researchers were honest enough to point out some of the study’s limitations, such as inadequate research on specific psychological factors driving the phenomenon of fake Facebook-self. However, the study’s significance is undeniable, especially in the field of psychoanalysis on social media addiction. Unlike previous studies, this particular article proves the correlation between anxious-avoidant upbringings to the need to seek social recognition and satisfaction on Facebook.

Overall Evaluation

The article has enough evidence to prove its strength as a viable study to take heed in future studies and applications in the field of psychology. For instance, the article starts by referencing previous studies in building up its case. It mentions the many studies on Facebook and its effects on people’s psychology; for example, it mentions a survey whereby two-thirds of mothers use social media as a way of portraying a stress-free life, especially those with newborns Heisenberg (2016). The paper also references psychological detachment and social awkwardness amongst people with low self-esteem. The study then goes on to make a very important correlation between fake Facebook profiles with anxious-avoidant attachments, which is an aspect that had not been discussed in previous studies.

Nonetheless, the research article is characteristic of limitations, such as using a sample of “unbalanced” participants. Out of the 258 participants, 74.7 percent were females and only 25.3 percent were male Facebook users. The demographic variables applied in this study were limited, whereby only educational background, gender and income were used. Furthermore, the study relied heavily on the answers provided by the participants, and the researchers did not include margin of error for genuine feedbacks. However, this is an important piece of evidence and thus the study is highly recommendable, mainly because it makes a very convincing correlation between fake Facebook-self to low self-esteem and anxious-avoidant attachments.

References

De Vet, H., Mokkink, L., Mosmuller, D., & Terwee, C. (2017). Spearman–Brown prophecy formula and Cronbach’s alpha: different faces of reliability and opportunities for new applications. Journal Of Clinical Epidemiology, 85(2), 45–49. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.01.013; Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2RfM8oS

Heisenberg P., (2016). Do Mothers Need Some Time Away From Social Media? Emarketer Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2C8VHM4

Nakagawa, S., Haddaway, N., O’Dea, R., & Lagisz, M. (2017). Research Weaving: Visualizing the Future of Research Synthesis. Trends In Ecology & Evolution, 45(3), 78–93. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2018.11.007; Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2C86YfA

Ramirez, G., Collazos, C., & Moreira, F. (2018). All-Learning: The state of the art of the models and the methodologies educational with ICT. Telematics And Informatics, 35(4), 944–953. DOI: 10.1016/j.tele.2017.10.004; Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2TDIGkC

Ruijsbroek, A., van den Brink, C., van Oers, H., & Kunst, A. (2018). Does selective migration bias the health impact assessment of urban regeneration programmes in cross-sectional studies? Findings from a Dutch case study. Health & Place, 31(2), 145–189. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.11.007; Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2CZTwvC

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