Do social network sites enhance or undermine subjective well-being? A critical review

Philippe Verduyn*, Oscar Ybarra, Maxime Resibois, John Jonides, Ethan Kross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social network sites are ubiquitous and now constitute a common tool people use to interact with one another in daily life. Here we review the consequences of interacting with social network sites for subjective well-beingthat is, how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives. We begin by clarifying the constructs that we focus on in this review: social network sites and subjective well-being. Next, we review the literature that explains how these constructs are related. This research reveals: (a) negative relationships between passively using social network sites and subjective well-being, and (b) positive relationships between actively using social network sites and subjective well-being, with the former relationship being more robust than the latter. Specifically, passively using social network sites provokes social comparisons and envy, which have negative downstream consequences for subjective well-being. In contrast, when active usage of social network sites predicts subjective well-being, it seems to do so by creating social capital and stimulating feelings of social connectedness. We conclude by discussing the policy implications of this work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-302
JournalSocial Issues and Policy Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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