The overuse of social media – particularly the publication of images and selfies – has been linked to a subsequent increase in narcissism, research has found.
The study authors warned that their findings could mean up to a fifth of the population could be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with the overuse of visual social media.
Researchers from the University of Swansea and the University of Milan studied personality changes of 74 individuals aged between 1
also assessed the use of social media by participants – including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – during the period.
Those who excessively used social media, through visual messages, showed an average increase of 25% of these narcissistic traits the four months of the study.
This increase has led many of these participants above the clinical limit for narcissistic personality disorder, according to the measurement scale used.
Narcissism is a personality trait that can entail grandiose exhibitionism, beliefs in relation to the right and exploitation of others.
The study found that those who primarily used social media for verbal messages, such as Twitter, did not show these effects.
However, in this group of participants, their initial levels of narcissism predicted growth in this form of social media usage over time.
The more narcissistic they were to start, the more verbal messages were published
All the people involved in the study, except one, used social media and their average use was about three hours a day, excluding use for work.
Some reported having used social media for at least eight hours a day for non-work related purposes.
Excessive publication of selfies linked to the increase of narcissism. 🤳📱😍https: //t.co/cHHL3jPn2O
– Swansea University (@SwanseaUni) 9 November 2018
Facebook was used by 60% of the participants, while 25% used Instagram and 13% used Twitter and Snapchat each.
More than two thirds of the participants used mainly social media to post images.
Professor Phil Reed, from the Department of Psychology at Swansea University, conducted the research.
He said: "There have been suggestions for links between narcissism and use of visual messages on social media, such as Facebook, but until this study it was not known if narcissists used this form of social media more or more. 39. Use of such platforms was associated with the subsequent growth of narcissism.
"The results of this study suggest that both occur, but show that posting selfies can increase narcissism.
"Taking our sample as a representative of the population, which is no reason to doubt, this means that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with the overuse of visual social media  "That the predominant use of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests that the growth of this personality problem could be seen more and more often, unless we recognize the dangers in this form of communication. "
is published in The Open Psychology Journal.
– Press Association