Narcissism and Affirmation of the Ideal Self on Social Media in Thailand

Isaranon, Yokfah. 2016. Narcissism and Affirmation of the Ideal Self on Social Media in Thailand. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Narcissists, characterised by an excessive need for admiration, are among the most prolific users of social media as it may aid narcissists reach their goals of being admired by many people, without needing to build intimacy. Adapted from the Michelangelo phenomenon, this thesis proposes to test the Facebook affirmation model in Thailand. The model asserts that individuals, particularly those with high levels of narcissism, can benefit from using Facebook to receive affirmation of the ideal self and move closer to their ideal selves.

Given that the benefits of Facebook for narcissists may depend on their cultural background, a cross-cultural correlational study was conducted in Study 1. A comparison between Thai and British Facebook users found basic support for the model and showed a similar pattern of the Facebook affirmation model across cultures. The application of cognitive and behavioural strategies was further investigated in Study 2 using an experimental design. The findings suggest that Facebook offers benefits for communal narcissists under specific circumstances, such as when they engage in other-oriented behaviours. The mechanisms underlying the Facebook affirmation process was also examined in Study 3. Results provide evidence that self-esteem influences the way in which communal narcissists experience Facebook affirmation. Lastly, the association between selfie-posting behaviour and affirmation of the ideal self was explored to test whether affirmation of the ideal self can occur under specific activities on other social media platforms. Results demonstrate that selfie-posting on Instagram helps agentic narcissists experience affirmation of the ideal self.

In general, findings provide new evidence that social media facilitates agentic and communal narcissists to feel their best and move towards their ideal self, particularly when cognitive and behavioural strategies used on social media match their orientation towards goals.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Narcissism, Affirmation, Ideal self, Social media

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 September 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Nov 2016 10:45

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:42


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