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The Effect of Self-Monitoring Limited Social Media Use on Psychological Well-Being

An experimental study was conducted to investigate the effect of self-monitoring limited social media usage on psychological well-being. After completing pretest measures, 230 undergraduate students from a large Midwestern university were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions: either limit their social media usage to 30 min a day or to use social media as usual. After 2 weeks of limiting, the self-monitored group showed significant improvements in their psychological well-being. Anxiety, depression, loneliness, fear of missing out, and negative affect decreased while positive affect increased. These results suggest that limiting social media usage may improve psychological well-being on multiple dimensions. This study is one of the first to experimentally investigate feasible alternatives to social media use abstinence or experimenter-managed limitation. Future studies could investigate motivations and mechanisms of social media use through qualitative explorations.

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