Date of Conferral







Stephen Rice


Instagram has more than 400 million monthly active users and 80 million shared photos with 3.5 billion likes daily. On Instagram, many people post their entire lives for others to see and comment on. This leads to people judging, commenting, and even trying to emulate others they see on social media. This constant comparing to others can lead to a host of psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. As social media becomes more of a staple in people's lives, it is important to study and understand the possible pitfalls to the culture it perpetuates. The purpose of this quantitative study was to use cognitive dissonance and attribution theories as the theoretical foundation to examine if there is a connection between Instagram usage and self-esteem by looking at the variables of length of a person's marriage, gender, happiness in marriage, age, and culture. Participants were married men and woman between the ages of 18 and 80 who actively use Instagram. They completed both the Marriage Happiness Scale and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Test offered in person and via Survey Monkey. The data were transferred to SPSS where multiple regression was used for data analysis. Through this research, the intention was to help people navigate social media better and create healthier peer relationships. In all the variables identified, only gender was a significant predictor of self-esteem. The positive social change for this study was that people would be more mindful of their own social media interactions to avoid their recreational use of a public platform to cause others to experience stress, depression, or other psychological harm.