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Abstract

The human need to belong is an innate drive that dictates much of our behavior. Informed by The Belongingness Hypothesis and Information Foraging Theory, the present study examines the relationship between FoMO and well-being. Study 1 (107 college students) investigates the relationship between FoMO, social media intensity and social connection. Results find that FoMO is positively associated with social media intensity, but negatively associated with social connection. The mediation tests, interestingly, reveal more positive results regarding FoMO. Specifically, FoMO has a positive indirect effect on social connection through social media intensity, suggesting that FoMO may, in some cases, be a good thing leading to enhanced social connection. Study 2 (458 college students) finds that FoMO impacts subjective well-being both directly (negatively) and indirectly (positively) through its impact on social media intensity and social connection. Results of the two studies reveal a nuanced model of FoMO and its relationships with social media intensity, connection, and well-being. FoMO can have a positive impact on well-being if it leads to social media use that fosters social connection. Study limitations and future research directions are discussed.
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International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction
ISSN: 1044-7318 (Print) 1532-7590 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hihc20
The Social Media Party: Fear of Missing Out
(FoMO), Social Media Intensity, Connection, and
Well-Being
James A. Roberts & Meredith E. David
To cite this article: James A. Roberts & Meredith E. David (2019): The Social Media Party: Fear of
Missing Out (FoMO), Social Media Intensity, Connection, and Well-Being, International Journal of
Human–Computer Interaction, DOI: 10.1080/10447318.2019.1646517
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2019.1646517
Published online: 26 Jul 2019.
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The Social Media Party: Fear of Missing Out (FoMO), Social Media Intensity,
Connection, and Well-Being
James A. Roberts and Meredith E. David
Marketing Department, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
ABSTRACT
The human need to belong is an innate drive that dictates much of our behavior. Informed by The
Belongingness Hypothesis and Information Foraging Theory, the present study examines the relation-
ship between FoMO and well-being. Study 1 (107 college students) investigates the relationship
between FoMO, social media intensity and social connection. Results find that FoMO is positively
associated with social media intensity, but negatively associated with social connection. The mediation
tests, interestingly, reveal more positive results regarding FoMO. Specifically, FoMO has a positive
indirect effect on social connection through social media intensity, suggesting that FoMO may, in
some cases, be a good thing leading to enhanced social connection. Study 2 (458 college students)
finds that FoMO impacts subjective well-being both directly (negatively) and indirectly (positively)
through its impact on social media intensity and social connection. Results of the two studies reveal
a nuanced model of FoMO and its relationships with social media intensity, connection, and well-being.
FoMO can have a positive impact on well-being if it leads to social media use that fosters social
connection. Study limitations and future research directions are discussed.
1. Introduction
Sarah is twenty-one years old and a classic texts major at
a small private university in upstate New York. She spends
a good portion of the day scanning her social media feeds for
news on friends, classmates, and even complete strangers. She
scrolls social media before she goes to bed, often awakes to
notifications during the night, and social media is the first
thing she checks after waking in the morning. Most of the
time she scrolls through her various social media accounts
without any clear objective, other than to fulfill a nagging
sense that she may be missing out on something important.
The above composite is typical of the important role social
media plays in the life of the archetypal college student. Social
media addresses/exploits the need to belong that is present (in
varying degrees) in individuals of all ages (Beyens, Frison, &
Eggermont, 2016; Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012). In a generation
thatischaracterizedbyadesiretobeconstantlyconnected,social
media allows its users to constantly monitor their social networks
for any developments (David, Roberts, & Christenson, 2017;
Roberts, Petnji YaYa, & Manolis, 2014;Roberts&Pirog,2013).
As noted by Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, and Gladwell
(2013), social media has a dual nature itcanopenmultiple
avenues for interaction and/or it can expose users to a vast array of
opportunities for interaction that are too numerous to pursue.
The fear of missing out (FoMO) is best understood as a
pervasive apprehension that others might be having
a rewarding experience from which one is absent(Przybylski
et al., 2013, p. 1841). Three-quarters of young adults have self-
diagnosed as having experienced a fear of missing out on enjoy-
able activities experienced by others, and, importantly, sharedon
social media (Przybylski et al., 2013). Why has the FoMO
reached such epidemic proportions? And, why is social media
so popular among young adults?
First and foremost, humans are social animals. Our innate
need to belong is essential to both our physical and mental
well-being. A strong social network increases our likelihood of
living longer and happier lives (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, &
Layton, 2010). A real or imagined sense of social exclusion
can negatively impact both the quantity and quality of our
lives (Konrath, 2018). From an evolutionary perspective,
social exclusion was often life threatening; social groups
which ostracized or excluded individuals often became stron-
ger together, while the excluded individual(s) often died
(Gruter & Masters, 1986). Indeed, the potential threat of
social exclusion poses a significant threat to ones innate
need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Baumeister &
Tice, 1990; Williams, 2007).
Previous research on the relationship between social media
use and well-being has been equivocal. Heavy social media use
has been linked to a variety of negative psychological out-
comes including increased stress levels, anxiety, depression,
lower levels of self-esteem, reduced relationship quality, and
lower sleep quality, as well as increased suicidal ideation and
suicide events among adolescents (Adams & Kisler, 2013;
CONTACT James A. Roberts jim_roberts@baylor.edu Marketing Department, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, One Bear Place, # 98007,
Waco, Texas 76798-8007, USA.
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the article can be found online at www.tandfonline.com/hihc.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANCOMPUTER INTERACTION
https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2019.1646517
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Kross et al., 2013; Tromholt, 2016; Twenge, Joiner, Rogers, &
Martin, 2018; Woods & Scott, 2016).
Social media use has also been linked to positive psycho-
logical outcomes, particularly, building social capital (Ellison,
Steinfeld, & Lampe, 2007; Green-Hamann, Eichhorn, &
Sherblom, 2011), self-esteem (Best, Manktelow, & Taylor,
2014), connection with others (Sheldon, Abad, & Hinsch,
2011), and lessened feelings of depression (Deters & Mehl,
2013). Recent research suggests a possible explanation for this
apparent anomaly (Shaw, Timpano, Tran, & Joorman, 2015;
Verduyn et al., 2015).
1.1. The present study
The role FoMO plays in social media use, a sense of connec-
tion with others, and ultimately, psychological well-being is
the primary focus of the present research. The present study
makes several important contributions to the current litera-
ture. First, and as shown in our conceptual model in Figure 1,
the role of FoMO in social media use is investigated. The
Belonging Hypothesis (Baumeister & Leary, 1995) and
Information Foraging Theory (Muntinga & Taylor, 2018;
Trepass, 2018) are used to explain why individuals turn to
social media to assuage the innate need of all humans to be in
relationship with others. This is an evolving area of research
and is particularly important given the rising use of social
media, yet paradoxically, an increasing sense of social isola-
tion among industrialized populations (Holt-Lunstad et al.,
2010).
A second contribution of the present study is that it
hypothesizes and tests a sequence by which FoMO drives
social media use, which in turn impacts social connection,
and ultimately affects psychological well-being. FoMO is
usually associated with lower connection and well-being, but
our data shows that if manifested in social media intensity,
FoMO can foster social connection and well-being. The
apparent contradiction in the larger culture between increas-
ing use of social media and attendant increasing sense of
social isolation underscores the importance of research that
investigates the impact of social media use on well-being.
2. Theoretical support for the proposed model
2.1. FoMO and social media intensity
In their pioneering research on the fear of missing out
(FoMO), Przybylski et al. (2013) defined the fear as a perva-
sive apprehension that others might be having rewarding
experiences from which one is absent(p. 1841). People
with a high FoMO want to be constantly connected with
others and stay abreast with what others are doing (Abeele
& Rooij, 2016; Beyens, Frison, & Eggemont, 2016; Przybylski
et al., 2013). The need to belong, to feel close and connected
to others, is a basic psychological need that drives our beha-
vior as humans (Deci & Ryan, 2000). As found by Przybylski
et al. (2013), a deficit in the psychological need for relatedness
is likely to increase ones FoMO. In turn, this heightened
FoMO finds a convenient outlet in social media where users
can stay continually in touch with their peer group.
Using a student sample of 296 Israeli undergraduate stu-
dents, Alt (2015) found that FoMO leads to increased social
media use in the classroom. FoMO was found to mediate the
impact of two academic motivations and social media use.
A later study by Alt (2017) corroborated her earlier finding
that FoMO is positively associated with social media engage-
ment, thus underscoring the importance of FoMO as an
explanatory variable in studies of social media use.
In studying smartphone use and FoMO among a sample of
296 college students, Wolniewicz, Tiamiyu, Weeks, and Elhai
(2018) found that FoMO was positively associated with pro-
blematic smartphone and social smartphone use. The authors
used a 4-item measure of social uses of ones smartphone such
as making voice calls or videos, texting, e-mailing or using
social media sites. Consistent with Uses and Gratifications
Theory, Wolniewicz et al. (2018) results explain how an
individual high in FoMO is more likely to use his/her smart-
phone for social purposes including social media to stay
connected with his/her social network. Similar research by
Makki, DeCook, Kadylak, and Lee (2018) focused on
Snapchat and found that use of the social media platform
was associated with individualsinnate desire to be accepted,
affiliated, and connected with others. Indeed, the
Belongingness Hypothesis explains that, “…human beings
have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least
a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant inter-
personal relationships(Baumeister & Leary, 1995, p. 497).
The need to belong, argue Baumeister and Leary, is an innate
human motivation that drives much of our interpersonal
behavior. Thus, it is likely that FoMO drives social media
use. Further support for this prediction is provided by
Information Foraging Theory.
Information Foraging Theory explains that, from an evolu-
tionary perspective, humans have an innate drive to seek
information (Gazzaley & Rosen, 2016). Like animals foraging
for food (Muntinga & Taylor, 2018), humans are constantly
seeking information particularly regarding their relation-
ships with others. Social media addresses this important
need by providing access to information about others that
Figure 1. Conceptual model.
2J. A. ROBERTS AND M. E. DAVID
feeds an instinctive need for information regarding our rela-
tionships. Hours spent on social media can be explained,
especially for teens and young adults, by an intense desire to
gather information that signals ones place in the social hier-
archy (Roberts et al., 2014; Whiting & Williams, 2013).
Trepass (2018) argues that information foraging can be con-
sidered rational and goal-driven activity at all levels of gran-
ularity.Indeed, the emergence of social media has provided
access to a wide range of activities and personal information
on others which has heretofore been largely unavailable,
Based on this review, we posit that FoMO is positively
associated with social media intensity. However, and as dis-
cussed next, a closer look at the Belongingness Hypothesis
may suggests that, although FoMO likely encourages informa-
tion foraging and drives social media use, it is unlikely that
FoMO is positively associated with well-being related out-
comes. Indeed, the research findings of Baker, Kreiger, and
Leroy (2016) corroborate the positive impact of FoMO on
social media use and provide evidence of a negative impact of
FoMO overall. Using a sample of 368 U.S. college students,
the researchers found that heightened FoMO was positively
associated with time spent on social media. Higher levels of
FoMO were also associated with a higher incidence of depres-
sive symptoms and more negative physical symptoms such as
headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, and sore throats.
2.2. FoMO, social media intensity, social connection, and
well-being
The Belongingness Hypothesis explains that satisfying the
innate need to be in relationships with others requires two
criteria must be met (Baumeister & Leary, 1995):
(1) People need to have frequent and reasonably pleasant
interactions with several significant others.
(2) The interactions between relationship partners must
occur in a stable and persistent framework of concern
for each other.
The above criteria have interesting implications for the grow-
ing use of social media to establish and maintain social rela-
tionships. First, as noted by Baumeister and Leary (1990),
interactions with a constantly changing flux of relationship
partners (think 500 Facebook friends) will be less fulfilling
than interactions with a few, close relationship
partners. Second, irregular or inconsistent contact/interaction
with close confidants is also less satisfying. Thus, it seems
likely that FoMO is negatively associated with social connec-
tion and overall well-being.
Oberst, Wegmann, Stodt, Brand, & Chamarro (2017) argue
that the positive rewards associated with social media use may
foster compulsive checking behaviors and excessive use of
social media and may ultimately hinder psychological well-
being. FoMO, the authors argue, although not the exclusive
purview of social media users, might lead individuals to check
their social media feeds more frequently to stay in constant
contact with the activities of important others. Clayton,
Leshner, and Almond (2015) conducted an experiment in
which 40 iPhone users were randomly assigned to complete
word puzzles either with or without their phones present in
their possession. During part of the task, researchers called the
study participantsphones, as a means by which to assess the
impact of phone separation on well-being. The results
revealed how phone separation has harmful effects on psy-
chological outcomes (e.g., state anxiety), as well as on physio-
logical outcomes including increased heart rate and blood
pressure (Clayton et al., 2015).
Przybylski et al. (2013) investigated the emotional and
behavioral correlates of FoMO in a sample of young adults
and concluded that, although FoMO is positively associated
with higher use of Facebook, it is also associated with poorer
mood states and lower levels of life satisfaction. Similarly,
research with a nationally representative sample of 2,079
British adults assessed the correlation between FoMO and
the psychological needs variables of autonomy, competence,
and relatedness, as well as well-being and found that all three
of the psychological needs were inversely associated with
FoMO (Przybylski et al., 2013). As these needs went unmet,
FoMO correspondingly increased. These findings seem to
suggest that FoMO may well be associated with lower social
connection and overall well-being.
Based on the above, it can be posited that FoMO is nega-
tively associated with feelings of social connection and psy-
chological well-being. Importantly, however, additional
research and empirical findings seem to suggest that FoMO
could in some situations foster social connection, in which
case it may not be harmful to well-being. Specifically, and as
discussed next, social media intensity likely plays a key med-
iating role between FoMO and both social connection and
well-being.
A small body of research has found that social media use
can help build bridging, bonding, and maintained social capi-
tal (Burke & Kraut, 2014; Ellison et al., 2007; Riedl, Köbler,
Goswami, & Krcmar, 2013). Steinfield, Ellison, and Lampe
(2008) found that intensity of Facebook use among college
students was a robust predictor of bridging social capital
a year later. Students with lower self-esteem benefited more
from their Facebook use than those with higher levels of self-
esteem. A recent meta-analysis by Domahidi (2018) analyzed
342 effect sizes from 63 studies which included data from over
35,000 individuals; the results showed a small positive rela-
tionship (r = .15) between online media use and perceived
social resources.
Using an experimental design, Deters and Mehl (2013)
tested the effect of posting status updates on Facebook on
psychological well-being, and found that posting status
updates to Facebook reduced loneliness. The authors posited
that the decrease in reported loneliness was due to a sense of
better connection with ones friends. Interestingly, the impact
of posting status updates was independent of social feedback
from members of the subjects friend networks.
Similarly, a study by Seo, Kim, and Yang (2016) used
a combination of information gathered from the participants
Facebook page and self-reported data to examine whether
social interactions on Facebook lead to more positive well-
being. The results showed that more interactions with
Facebook friends lead to greater perceptions of social support,
which in turn reduced ones loneliness (Seo et al., 2016).
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANCOMPUTER INTERACTION 3
These findings are consistent with research which has shown
that the simple act of sharing personal information lights up
reward areas in the brain; specifically, important neurochem-
ical releases occur when we share personal information
(which is greatly enhanced by the variety of social media
available) (Richtel, 2014). Based on this review, it is hypothe-
sized that the intensity of social media use derived from ones
FoMO may well foster social connection and ultimately
increase ones well-being.
Overall then, it is hypothesized that FoMO is positively
associated with social media intensity, but negatively asso-
ciated with feelings of social connection and psychological
well-being. Importantly, we expect to find that FoMO can
foster social connection, in which case it may not be harmful
to well-being. Specifically, our conceptual model (see Figure
1) includes mediation and predicts that social media intensity
derived from a fear of missing out fosters social connection
and ultimately enhances well-being. Two studies were con-
ducted to test these predictions.
3. Method
Two studies were conducted to test our conceptual model.
Study 1 examined the relationships between FoMO, social
media use, and social connection. Given a small, but evolving
body of literature which has found that social media use may
help build social capital, Study 2 tested whether increasing
social media use could have a positive impact on psychologi-
cal well-being through its salubrious impact on social connec-
tion. It is predicted that FoMO is negatively associated with
social connection and well-being unless it transpires through
effective use of social media.
3.1. Study 1
3.1.1. Sample, procedure, and measures
One hundred and seven undergraduate students (47% female)
at a large U.S. university participated in the study. Participants
were invited into a lab and seated at individual computers
where they would complete the study questionnaire online.
The study included measures of FoMO, social media intensity,
and social connection. FoMO (α= .88, M = 2.49, SD = .83)
was accessed using the 10-item measure by Przybylski et al.
(2013). Example items include I fear my friends have more
rewarding experiences than me,”“I get anxious when I dont
know what my friends are up to,, and It bothers me when
I miss an opportunity to meet up with friends.Social media
intensity (α= .86, M = 2.90, SD = .89) was measured using the
6-item Ellison et al. (2007) scale. The items were assessed on
a 5-point scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly
agree. Example items include Social media is part of my
everyday activity,”“I feel out of touch when I havent logged
onto Facebook for a while,and Social media sites have
become part of my daily routine.Social connection
(α= .90, M = 5.16, SD = 1.24) was assessed using a 9-item
measure by Lee and Robbins (1995). A 7-point Likert scale
was used to assess the items. Example items included I feel
distant from people,”“I catch myself losing all sense of
connectedness with society,and I have no sense of together-
ness with my peers.
3.1.2. Results
The Process Model 4 (Preacher & Hayes, 2008)was used to
test our conceptual model including predictions involving
mediation (Krieger & Sarge, 2013). To begin, the model tested
the relationship between FoMO and social media intensity
(F
(1, 105)
= 21.43, p< .01, R
2
= .17). As predicted, the results
indicated that FoMO is positively associated with social media
intensity (β= .44, p< .01). Next, the model tested whether
FoMO and social media intensity are directly associated with
social connection. The results (F
(2, 104)
= 7.22, p< .01,
R
2
= .12) indicated that FoMO is negatively associated with
social connection (β=.55, p< .01), and social media inten-
sity is positively associated with social connection (β= .35,
p< .05). Importantly, and in support of mediation, the indir-
ect effect of FoMO on social connection (through social
media intensity) is significant and positive (β= .16,
SE = .08, 95% CI: .01, .33).
Overall, these findings support our predictions.
Interestingly, although FoMO is negatively associated with
social connection, the mediation tests revealed more positive
results surrounding FoMO. Specifically, FoMO had an indir-
ect effect on social connection through social media intensity,
thus suggesting that FoMO may in some instances be a good
thing which can lead to greater feelings of social connection.
Study 2 sought to extend study 1 by examining the same
relationships but also including a measure of well-being and
testing it as an ultimate outcome of FoMO (through social
media intensity and social connection).
3.2. Study 2
3.2.1. Sample, procedure, and measures
The sample consisted of 458 undergraduate students from
alarge U.S. university (55% male, M
age
= 20.35, SD = .940).
The study 2 questionnaire included measures of FoMO
(α= .86, M = 2.50, SD = .79) (Przybylski et al., 2013), social
media intensity (α= .87, M = 2.86, SD = .99) (Ellison et al.,
2007), and social connection (α= .93, M = 5.15, SD = 1.22)
(Lee & Robbins, 1995), all of which were assessed using the
same scales as previously in study 1. In addition, study 2 also
included a measure of subjective well-being. Specifically, sub-
jective well-being (α= .89, M = 3.01, SD = .59) was assessed
using a 5-item measure by Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and
Griffiths (1985).
3.2.2. Results
The Process Model 6 (Preacher & Hayes, 2008)was used to
test our conceptual model including predictions involving
sequential mediation (Krieger & Sarge, 2013). Unlike the
Process Model 4, the Process Model 6 offers a test of sequen-
tial, or serial, mediation; since study 2 measured subjective
well-being and was designed to test our complete conceptual
model in which subjective well-being is an ultimate outcome
of FoMO (through its impact on social media intensity and
social connection), the Process Model 6 was the most appro-
priate to method to analyze the study data. To begin, the
4J. A. ROBERTS AND M. E. DAVID
model tested the relationship between FoMO and social
media intensity. As predicted, and consistent with the findings
in Study 1, the results (F
(1, 459)
= 93.65, p< .01, R
2
= .17)
indicated that FoMO is positively associated with social media
intensity (β= .52, p< .01).
Next, the model tested whether FoMO and social media
intensity are directly associated with social connection. The
results (F
(2, 458)
= 34.63, p< .01, R
2
= .13) indicated that
FoMO is negatively associated with social connection
(β=.61, p< .01), and social media intensity is positively
associated with social connection (β= .14, p< .05). The model
next tested the relationship that FoMO, social media intensity,
and social connection have with subjective well-being. The
results (F
(3, 457)
= 58.36, p< .01, R
2
= .28) showed a significant
relationship between social connection and subjective well-
being (β= .17, p< .01). In addition, FoMO is a significant
predictor of subjective well-being (β=.19, p< .01). Social
media intensity had a marginally significant effect on well-
being (β=.05, p= .05). Further, the mediation results
suggested that although FoMO has a negative indirect effect
on well-being through social media intensity (β=.026;
SE = .01, 95% CI: .056, .001) and through social connection
(β=.101; SE = .02, 95% CI: .141, .069) separately, the
results provided evidence suggesting that FoMO can have
a positive effect on well-being when acted upon by engaging
in social media so as to enhance social connection (β= .012;
SE = .01, 95% CI: .001, .026).
Importantly, the results showed support for sequential
mediation, suggesting that FoMO has an indirect positive
effect on well-being through social media intensity and social
connection (β= .012; SE = .01, 95% CI: .001, .026). Table 1
summarizes the results of studies 1 and 2. Overall, these
results suggest that FoMO can have a positive impact on well-
being if acted upon by engaging in social media in a manner
that fosters social connection. These findings seem to high-
light the potential importance of the way in which social
media is used.
4. General discussion, and conclusions
Despite the emergence of social media that allows one to be
continually connected to others, research suggests that both the
quantity and quality of social relationships in industrialized
societies has decreased. Individuals are perhaps more socially
isolated now than ever before. Most Americans report having
no confidant (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010). The primary focus of
the present research was to investigate the Howof the rela-
tionship between FoMO and well-being. We found support for
the process (How) by which FoMO is linked to well-being.
As hypothesized, the present study found that FoMO is
positively associated with social media intensity. Although the
correlational nature of these studies precludes one from any
causal attributions, it is likely that FoMO encourages the use
of social media to stay connected. As informed by the
Belongingness Hypothesis and Information Foraging Theory,
humans have an innate drive to be in relationships with
others. Social media is simply an omni-present conduit for
attempting to make such connections. The dual nature of
social media, however, suggests that, faced with a nearly
unending number of opportunities to connect, such social
media use may increase ones FoMO. A bi-directional causal
flow between the two constructs is a distinct possibility which
merits further research scrutiny (Buglass, Binder, Bette, &
Underwood, 2017).
Study results suggest that, although FoMO is generally nega-
tively associated with social connection and well-being, this is
not always the case. Importantly, the results show a more
nuanced model of FoMO and its relationships with social
media use, connection, and well-being. FoMO drives social
media intensity and has an indirect positive effect on social
connection through social media intensity, thus suggesting
that FoMO may in some instances be a good thing which can
lead to greater feelings of social connection. Although FoMO
has a negative indirect effect on well-being through social media
intensity and through social connection separately, the results
provide evidence suggesting that FoMO can have a positive
effect on well-being if acted upon by engaging in social media
in a manner that fosters social connection.
4.1. Limitations and future research directions
The present research and the results provided herein must be
tempered by certain limitations. First, although a strong case
has been made theoretically and empirically that FoMO is
associated with social media intensity, experimental research
is needed to examine the direction of the causal flow between
FoMO and social media use.
Table 1. Study 1 and study 2 results.
Path
a
Coefficient
b
SE t
95%
Confidence
Interval
Study 1: FoMO Social Media
Intensity
Study 2: FoMO Social Media
Intensity
.44***
.52***
.095
.054
4.63
9.68
.25, .63
.41, .63
Study 1: FoMO Social
Connection
Study 2: FoMO Social
Connection
.55***
-.61***
.151
.074
3.64
8.24
.85, .25
-.75, .46
Study 1: Social Media Intensity
Connection
Study 2: Social Media Intensity
Connection
.35**
.14**
.141
.059
2.49
2.34
.07, .63
.02, .25
Study 2: FoMO Subjective Well-
being
.19** .035 5.57 .25, .13
Study 2: Social Media Intensity
Well-being
.05* .026 1.92 .10, .00
Study 2: Social Connection
Well-being
.17*** .021 8.07 .13, .21
Study 1 Mediation:
FoMO Social Media Intensity
Connection
Study 2 Mediation:
FoMO Social Media Intensity
Well-being
FoMO Connection Well-
being
FoMO Social Media Intensity
Connection
Well-being
.16**
.03**
.10**
.01**
.081
.014
.019
.006
.01, .33
.06, .00
.14, .07
.00, .03
a
Study 1 results (F
(2,104)
= 7.22, p< .01 R
2
= .12) based on the Preacher and Hayes
(2008) Model 4; Study 2 results (F
(3,457)
= 58.36, p< .01 R
2
= .28) based on the
Preacher and Hayes (2008) Model 6
b
* denotes p< .10, ** denotes p< .05, *** denotes p< .001
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANCOMPUTER INTERACTION 5
It is likely that the causal flow between the two variables
may be bi-directional (Buglass et al., 2017). FoMO is likely an
innate drive to be in relationship with others that positively
impacts ones social media use. The greater the FoMO, the
more one turns to social media to regain a sense of belonging.
It is equally likely, however that being exposed to a myriad of
opportunities on social media will, in turn, increase ones
FoMO. This tendency to be overwhelmed by social opportu-
nities on social media has been referred to as the dual nature
of social media (Przybylski et al., 2013).
Additionally, as noted by Przybylski et al. (2013), the pre-
sent study treated FoMO as an individual difference variable.
It is possible that both time and context could impact ones
sense of FoMO. FoMO, assert the authors, may vary across
the span of months, weeks, or even within the course of
a single day. Longitudinal and experimental research will
help address such concerns.
Lastly, it may be an over-simplification to treat social media
use as a catch-all for time spent on social media. A small body of
emerging research suggests it is not the time spent on social
media that dictates its relationship with well-being but how that
time is spent. Passive use of social media (also referred to as
lurkingor creeping) has been found in several studies to be
negatively associated with well-being while active use of social
media (posting, commenting, and interacting) has been found
to be positively associated with several psychological well-being
measures (Deters & Mehl, 2013;Shawetal.,2015;Verduyn
et al., 2015). Additional research is needed to examine the
impact of how one uses social media and its relationship to
both physical and psychological well-being.
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About the Authors
James A. Roberts is the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at
Baylor University. He has approximately 80 articles published in numer-
ous journals including Computers in Human Behavior, the Journal of
Applied Psychology, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal
of Consumer Psychology, Psychology & Marketing, and many others.
Meredith E. David (PhD, University of South Carolina) is an Assistant
Professor of Marketing in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor
University. Her research focuses on consumer behavior and appears in
journals including the Journal of Business Research, Journal of
Advertising, European Journal of Marketing, and Psychology & Marketing.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANCOMPUTER INTERACTION 7
... This is a critical point, as there are few alternatives to using many of services (e.g., search engines) that strip people of their privacy. Similarly, given that social media frequency leads to stronger social connections, and ultimately well-being (Roberts & David, 2020), quitting social media may lead to a cut in ties with friends and loved ones, especially those who are physically distant, and ultimately reduce well-being. Given the lack of options when it comes to Web-based services, it is no wonder that privacy paradox findings emerge. ...
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