Background. The reasons and consequences of people’s activity on social networks have not been sufficiently studied. Most studies have focused on identifying the dangers and risks associated with posting self-portraits on social networks, but it is an open question as to whether such behavior serves to increase people’s psychological well-being.
Objective. We asked ourselves what are the main motives for publishing selfies and whether online activity contributes to psychological well-being.
Design. Our study involved 96 respondents from Moscow, mainly psychology students, who provided information about their activity on social networks, and completed questionnaires on their motivation, social support, and psychological well-being.
Results. Three main motives for publishing selfies were identified: 1) to increase self-esteem; 2) maintain social contacts; and 3) preserve and exchange information. The higher the ratio of selfies taken to preserve information, the higher was the user’s psychological well-being. We found significant differences between the characteristics of those participants with high and low activity, and larger and smaller numbers of "friends" in social networks. For those with high activity, their sense of psychological well-being was largely determined by interaction with others. For these persons, communication (including with virtual contacts) was the important resource of well-being. The other group was less dependent on others, and for them, psychological well-being was not related to their activity on social networks.
Conclusion. Our results confirm the connection between the personality traits and characteristics of the respondents' network behavior and their psychological well-being. The study showed that the type of correlation constellation differs between groups of respondents depending upon how much or how little they are oriented toward social support.
Keywords: selfie/ psychological well-being/ self-esteem/ social support/ motivation to success/ motivation to avoid failure