Examining the influence of social media on emotions and consumption


  • Elyria Kemp University of New Orleans
  • Carla Childers Bellarmine University


social media engagement, anxiety, belongingness, emotion regulation consumption, vice consumption


Research is increasingly revealing that despite the gratification that social media engagement provides in terms of information sharing and social networking, it can also present emotional and behavioral challenges for users. The current research examines the influence of social media on emotional well-being and consumption.  It investigates the relationship between social media engagement and anxiety in young adults and explores the impact that social media engagement has on consumption—notably, behavior with the intent to mitigate anxiety.  A model is tested with participants (n = 795) from the Gen Z and Millennial cohorts.  The findings indicate that while having a sense of belonging is negatively related to anxiety, higher social media engagement and anxiety are positively related. Further, both social media engagement and anxiety are positively related to consumption behaviors that are aimed at alleviating negative emotions and positively related to vice consumption. Implications from findings on how adverse outcomes from excessive social media use can be curtailed are discussed.


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