22 SES 13 D, Teaching and Learning
Millennial students are described as having a focus on social interaction and connectedness with friends, family and colleagues by using social media tools (McMahon & Pospisil, 2005). On the up side, these technologies might play a large role in keeping college students connected to family and friends to obtain social support as they grapple with a host of academic, personal, and social pressures (Gemmill & Peterson, 2006). On the down side, technology may also disrupt and occupy the time of a college student, and that could enhance higher levels of perceived stress, sensitivity, depression and anxiety (Alabi, 2013; Alavi, Maracy, Jannatifard, & Eslami, 2011). These concerns about the consequences of the alarming rate of mental problems related to use of social media among university students have recently raised awareness about a new phenomenon termed Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). This phenomenon has been defined as an anxiety, whereby one is compulsively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a rewarding experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event (Anderson, 2011; Kellner, 2013). FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing and is especially associated with social media technologies which provide constant opportunity for comparison of one's status (Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan, & Gladwell, 2013).
Because the transition to college is often associated with high levels of loneliness, emotional maladjustment and depression (Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp, 1990; Wintre & Yaffe, 2000), this study is aimed at assessing the assumption that psychological need deficits could lead some toward a general sensitivity to FoMO as suggested by Przybylski et al. (2013). More specifically, the mediating role of FoMO linking maladjustment to college life to social media engagement lies at the core of the present study.
The present research
The concerns about the consequences of the alarming rate of mental problems related to use of social media among university students give additional reasons to expect FoMO linked to deficits in mood and satisfaction with life. Taken together with the wider literature on social media engagement and students' well-being, the possible role of FoMO in linking individual variability in adjustment to college life to social media engagement will be examined in this study.
Two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
(H1) Students who are more adjusted to college life (e.g., like their classes, social life and college in general) would be less connected to family and friends via social media to obtain social support. Whereas students who experience general negative emotions about coming to college are expected to be more connected to family and friends to obtain social support as a buffer to the levels of academic, personal, and social pressures they experience.
(H2) Drawing on the assumption that psychological need deficits can lead some toward a general sensitivity to FoMO, it is possible that FoMO could serve as a mediator linking maladjustment to college life to social media engagement.Background variables, such as gender, age and socio-economic status, will also be addressed in this research in order to assess how these variables intersect and may contribute to the FoMO, social media engagement and academic adjustment variables.
Alabi, O. F. (2013). A survey of Facebook addiction level among selected Nigerian university undergraduates. New Media and Mass Communication, 10, 70-80. Alavi, S. S., Maracy, M. R., Jannatifard, F., & Eslami, M. (2011). The effect of psychiatric symptoms on the internet addiction disorder in Isfahan's university students. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 16(6), 793-800. Anderson, H. (2011, April 17). Never heard of Fomo? You're so missing out. The Observer. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree /2011/apr/17/hephzibah-anderson-fomo-new-acronym Gemmill, E., & Peterson, M. (2006). Technology use among college students: Implications for student affairs professionals. NASPA Journal, 43(2), 280−300. Kellner, S. (2013, January 13). Is FOMO depriving us of our ability to exist in the present and take pleasure in the here and now? The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/is-fomo-depriving-us-of-our-ability-to-exist-in-the-present-and-take-pleasure-in-the-here-and-now-8449677.html McMahon, M., & Pospisil, R. (2005). Laptops for a digital lifestyle: Millennial students and wireless mobile technologies. In Proceedings of the 22nd ASCILITE conference, (pp. 421-431). Pennebaker, J. W., Colder, M., & Sharp, L. K. (1990). Accelerating the coping process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 528-537. Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior,29, 1841–1848. Wintre, M. G., & Yaffe, M. (2000). First-year students’ adjustment to university life as a function of relationships with parents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15, 9–37.
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