The study looked at 381 college-aged students at Brigham Young University and found that behavior like being a Facebook junkie, relentlessly updating your status, and revealing intimate thoughts and feelings online were associated with vulnerable narcissism. (Related from MensHealth.com: How Facebook Can Make You Miserable.)
See, there are two types of narcissists. Grandiose narcissists seek out admiration and have fantasies of success and power—and a hefty sense of entitlement. (Example: Kanye West.) Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, look for approval and validation from others to up their self-esteem. “Someone who wants validation will post on Facebook more frequently. They’re getting some type of self-esteem boost from people reacting to what they’re doing,” explains lead study author Bonnie Anne Boyd Huling, a BYU graduate student.
There was no correlation between Facebook use and grandiose narcissism, likely because people with delusions of grandeur aren’t satisfied with measly status updates, speculates Huling.
But don’t retire your profile just yet. “I don’t want people to think that just because you update your Facebook, you’re a narcissist,” says Huling. “It was a weak correlation. This wasn’t a cause-and effect study. We don’t know if narcissists are drawn to social media or if it brings out your narcissist behavior. But the tendency was there.”
Even though the study subjects were young male and female students at a religious university, Huling says the study results are applicable to everyone.
So before you brag on Facebook about the awesome sandwich you just scarfed at your desk, picture all of your “friends” in a room with you. Then imagine telling them what you’re about to post. Other tips: “I un-friend people I don’t want reading my status, or I send individual messages instead of bombarding the whole list,” says Huling.
Read more about How Facebook Has Changed Sex, and find out What Your Facebook Pic Says about You.