What Your Facebook Activity Says About How Insecure You Are

mbg Contributor By Emi Boscamp
mbg Contributor
Emi Boscamp is the former News Editor at mindbodygreen. She received a BA in English and minors in Spanish and Art History from Cornell University.

You probably already assume that those who post the most selfies on Facebook are the most narcissistic of your "friends." But what about those who are constantly popping up on your feed not with selfies, but instead with statuses, wall posts, and likes?

A new study from Union College says that those kind of 'bookers — who are more actively engaged on the social network, rather than just browsing — are generally insecure in their relationships. Unsurprisingly, they do this in hopes of getting attention.

In two surveys of nearly 600 people aged 18 to 83, researchers asked participants about their tendencies in close relationships and their Facebook habits.

The researchers, led by Joshua Hart, an associate professor of psychology, found that there are at least two kinds of active Facebook users: people who are higher in attachment anxiety and people who are higher in extroversion.

People who were higher in attachment anxiety exhibited greater amounts of what the study refers to as "feedback seeking" on the site. In other words, they need more reassurance from their peers.

"They report feeling much better about themselves when they get a lot of comments, likes and other feedback on their posts and worse about themselves when their Facebook activity generates little attention," Hart said in a press release.

Anxiously attached individuals level of feedback sensitivity correlates with how active they are on Facebook — and, according to Hart, this technique actually seems to be working, as they "report receiving more attention than people lower in attachment anxiety."

And as for the extraverts that reported active Facebook use, the authors expect a fuller explanation from future research. They do, however, offer the information that extraverts' reasons for active use are different from those of anxiously attached individuals.

"These studies are consistent with many people's intuitions that some individuals use Facebook to fulfill emotional and relationship needs that are unmet in the 'real' world," said Hart.

While the jury's still out on whether or not Facebook is a healthy outlet for these needs, these findings help us better understand people's individual relationship with social media.

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