Facebook and Personality Disorders
Facebook and Personality Disorders
Facebook Use Associations with Two Groups of Personality Disorders
Christian Somoza & Larry Rosen, Ph.D.
California State University Dominguez Hills
Two-Way ANOVA (Facebook Use x Number Facebook Friends)
Researchers have noted that real-world social network
structure and support are associated with psychological wellbeing (McLanahan, Wedemeyer, & Adelberg, 1983). More
recently the “virtual” self-presentation and number of online
social network friends has been linked to subjective well-being
(Kim & Lee, 2011). Further, narcissism scores have been found
to be associated with increased Facebook interaction (Buffardi
& Campbell, 2008) indicating a strong link between individual
Facebook profiles and actual offline affects. The current study
analyzes the relationship between Facebook use and number
of Facebook friends with two groups of personality disorders:
those characterized by need for attention and closeness
(Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Dependent Personality Disorders)
and those characterized with avoidance and suspiciousness of
close social relationships (Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, and
Avoidant Personality Disorders).
General Facebook Use
Number of Facebook Friends
Correlations Between Facebook Use/Friends and Psychological Disorders
• Increased scores in “attention/closeness” personality disorders
will be associated with increased Facebook use and number of
Number of Facebook
A majority of respondents (67.4%) reported using Facebook daily to several times a day. Respondents that had
never used Facebook were omitted from analyses. Respondents reporting excessive number of friends
(N=1027 or greater) were considered outliers and omitted from analyses. The remaining 284 participants had
an average of 287 Facebook friends (SD=229).
Facebook Use and Number of Facebook Friends were categorized into thirds (lower, middle, upper and few,
moderate, and many friends respectively). Both variables were analyzed in a two-way multivariate analysis of
variance. Results displayed in Table 1 and Table 2 indicated:
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.).
Washington, DC: Author.
Buffardi, L.E. & Campbell, W.K. (2008). Narcissism and Social
Networking Web Sites. Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin, 34, 1303-1314.
Kim, J & Lee, J.R. (2011). The Facebook Paths to Happiness:
Effects of the Number of Facebook Friends and SelfPresentation on Subjective Well-Being. Cyberpsychology,
Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(6), 359-364.
McLanahan, S.S., Wedemeyer, N.V., & Adelberg, T. (1981).
Network Structure, Social Support, and Psychological WellBeing in the Single-Parent Family. Journal of Marriage and
Family, 43(3), 601-612.
• There was a difference between low and high level Facebook use in participants with increased narcissism
[F(2, 255) = 3.82, p = .023].
• There was a difference in amount of Facebook friends and increased narcissism [F(2, 255) = 4.92, p=.008],
increased histrionic personality [F(2, 255) = 8.90, p <. 001], and increased schizoid personality scores
[F(2,255) = 4.02, p = .019].
• Individuals with increased Facebook use were more narcissistic [r(263) = .18, p <. 01].
The questionnaire was administered through the Survey Monkey
website. Consent was given and required to advance to
questionnaire page. The current study analyzes the relationship
between Facebook use and number of Facebook friends with
two groups of personality disorders: those characterized by need
for attention and closeness (Narcissistic, Histrionic, and
Dependent Personality Disorders) and those characterized with
avoidance and suspiciousness of close social relationships
(Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Avoidant Personality
Those with higher schizoid and avoidant scores reported less
Facebook friends. Social detachment and social inhibition
respectively may cause individuals to maintain lower number
of friends. Further research should account for individual
features in personality disorders when comparing Facebook
usage. Indeed, Facebook and social networks in general may
provide a secondary avenue for clinicians to supplement
personality disorder diagnosis.
• Increased scores in “avoidance/suspiciousness” personality
disorders will be associated with decreased Facebook use and
number of Facebook friends.
Participants (N=326) were recruited by a senior psychology class
to complete an anonymous, online survey. More that half of the
participants were female (60.7%, N=198). Participant ethnicity
included: Hispanic (43.9%), Caucasian (27.9%), Asian (14.1%),
African-American (9.8%), and other (4.3%). All participants used
in analyses indicated holding an active Facebook profile. The
Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III was used to assess
Individuals that use Facebook demonstrate higher narcissism.
This may be result of characteristic need for admiration and
use of friends to promote self-esteem (APA, 2000). Future
research may probe whether Facebook use is maladaptive or
if it is simply a marker for narcissism. Both increased
narcissism and histrionic scores were associated with
increased number of Facebook friends. Possible explanations
may include key characteristics involving the need for
admiration or attention seeking.
• Those with more Facebook friends were more narcissistic [r(284) = .20, p <. 001], and had increased
histrionic personality scores [r(284) = .23, p <. 001].
• Those with fewer Facebook friends showed increased schizoid personality scores, [r(284) = -.20, p < .001],
and increased avoidant personality scores [r(284) = -.14, p = .015].
Larry Rosen, Ph.D.
George Marsh Applied Cognition Laboratory
California State University Dominguez Hills, Psychology
McNair Scholars Program