The Role of Reappraisal on Emotional Outcomes Following Instagram Use
thesisposted on 2021-08-01, 00:00 authored by Vinoadharen Nair Das
This mixed methods study examined the effectiveness of a novel video manipulation using reappraisal as an emotion regulation strategy to improve the emotional experiences of Instagram users. In the quantitative section, three hypotheses were proposed: (1) Mood will improve more from pretest to posttest for the reappraisal participants compared to control participants. (2) Self-esteem scores will increase more from pretest to posttest for the reappraisal participants compared to control participants. (3) Loneliness score will decrease more from pretest to posttest for the reappraisal participants compared to control participants. In the qualitative section, semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants after their Instagram use to gain a deeper understanding of their emotional experiences. Two hundred forty-seven participants were recruited into this two-semester study (Fall 2020, Spring 2021). Participants in the treatment condition watched a video normalizing emotional experiences on Instagram, while control participants watched a video about the history of Instagram. None of the hypotheses were supported. For the variable of self-esteem, participants scored higher on self-esteem at posttest compared to pretest. The qualitative findings provided rich context explaining participants’ emotional experiences. Using transcendental phenomenology (Moustakas, 1994), seven themes were identified after synthesizing qualitative data from 50 participants. These themes were positive emotion, negative emotion, social comparison, self-esteem, reappraisal, awareness of highlight reel, and attention to likes, comments, and followers. Implications from the qualitative findings include identifying specific content that improved or worsened participants’ emotions and how future researchers can target new ways to improve participants’ experiences.