The Relationship Between Fragmented Self on Social Media, Self-Monitoring, and Social Anxiety: The Moderating Role of Gender

  • Lan Lan


In today’s world, social media and the internet have gained tremendous popularity. The habitual use of social media has become a widespread phenomenon among young people. This increased usage of social media has also raised the likelihood of experiencing social anxiety (SA), capturing significant attention from scholars. This study aims to shed light on a relatively unexplored factor: the concept of the fragmented self on social media, which may influence SA. This influence might involve an underlying mechanism, and investigating this mechanism can provide insights that have received less attention in the literature. To achieve this goal, the present study introduces the concept of self-monitoring as a potential mediator in the relationship between the fragmented self and SA, with gender serving as a moderator in the relationship between self-monitoring on social media and SA. Theoretically, the proposed associations between variables in the current study are grounded in impression management theory and self-construal theory. The study adopts a cross-sectional survey approach and gathers data from Chinese university students aged 18-22 through questionnaires. Following data analysis, the results show a positive correlation between the fragmented self on social media and SA, positive relationship between fragmented self on social media and self-monitoring on social media, and positive relationship between self-monitoring on social media and SA. However, the study does not find evidence to support self-monitoring as a mediator in the relationship between the fragmented self on social media and SA. Furthermore, the hypothesized moderating role of gender in the relationship between self-monitoring on social media and SA does not yield significant results. This research enriches our understanding of impression management and offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between the fragmented self on social media, self-monitoring, and SA. It also serves as a guide for social media users, especially Chinese university students aged 18-22, to make more informed and appropriate use of social media.


Ahadzadeh, A. S., Ong, F. S., Wu, S. L., & Deng, R. (2021). Private self-consciousness and self-monitoring on instagram: the mediating effect of internal locus of control and self-concept. The Journal of Psychology, 155(3), 334–355. 00223980.2021.1884035
American Psychiatric Association. (2023c). Social anxiety. APA Dictionary of Psychology.
An, S. S. (2021). Research report on user behavior of Chinese social media users. Media, 14, 19–22.
Baltacı, Ö. (2019). The predictive relationships between the social media addiction and social anxiety, loneliness, and happiness. International Journal of Progressive Education, 15(4), 73–82.
British Psychological Society (UK). (2013). Social anxiety disorder. Social Anxiety Disorder - NCBI Bookshelf.
Bryant, E. M., & Marmo, J. (2012). The rules of Facebook friendship: A two-stage examination of interaction rules in close, casual, and acquaintance friendships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29(8), 1013–1035.
Budak, C., Agrawal, D., & El Abbadi, A. (2011). Limiting the spread of misinformation in social networks. Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on World Wide Web, 665–674.
Cramer, K. M., & Gruman, J. A. (2002). The Lennox and Wolfe revised self-monitoring scale: Latent structure and gender invariance. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(4), 627–637.
Cross, S. E., & Madson, L. (1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122(1), 5–37.
Dempsey, A. E., O’Brien, K. D., Tiamiyu, M. F., & Elhai, J. D. (2018). Fear of missing out (FoMO) and rumination mediate relations between social anxiety and problematic Facebook use. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 9, 100150. j.abrep.2018.100150
Dijck, J. van, Poell, T., & Waal, M. de. (2018). The platform society. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Dolgin, K. G., & Minowa, N. (1997). Gender differences in self-presentation: A comparison of the roles of flatteringness and intimacy in self-disclosure to friends. Sex Roles, 36(5–6), 371–380.
Dossey, L. (2014). FOMO, digital dementia, and our dangerous experiment. Explore (New York, N.Y.), 10(2), 69–73.
Duan, W., He, C., & Tang, X. (2020). Why do people browse and post on wechat moments? Relationships among fear of missing out, strategic self-presentation, and online social anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 23(10), 708–714.
Erdem, B. K. (2020). Final destinations of social media journeys: the fragmented self. International Journal of Social And Humanities Sciences, 4(3), Article 3.
Fan, Q., & Chang, W. C. (2015). Social anxiety among chinese people. The Scientific World Journal, 2015, e743147.
Fang, F., Gao, W., Chen, S., & Jiang, Y. (2023). A study on the correlation between college students’ body image and social anxiety. Psychological Monthly, 18(06), 68–71.
Felix, G. R., & Olmedo, A. (2023). Does the use of social media have an impact on young adults body identification? [Master’s thesis, California State University - San Bernardino].
Gabrenya, W. K., & Arkin, R. M. (1980). Self-monitoring scale: Factor structure and correlates. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 6(1), 13–22. 014616728061002
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday, Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books. 1404328
Grimm, P. (2010). Social desirability bias. In Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley. wiem02057
Gross, B. M. (1964). The managing of organizations: the administrative struggle, volume 1. New York, NY, US: The Free Press of Glencoe.
Gunther Moor, B., Van Leijenhorst, L., Rombouts, S. A. R. B., Crone, E. A., & Van Der Molen, M. W. (2010). Do you like me? Neural correlates of social evaluation and developmental trajectories. Social Neuroscience, 5(5–6), 461–482. 0903526155
Haferkamp, N., & Krämer, N. C. (2010). Creating a digital self: impression management and impression formation on social networking sites. In K. Drotner & K. C. Schrøder (Eds.), Digital content creation: Creativity, competence, critique (pp. 129–149). New York, NY, US: Peter Lang.
Haferkamp, N., Eimler, S. C., Papadakis, A.-M., & Kruck, J. V. (2012). Men are from mars, women are from venus? Examining gender differences in self-presentation on social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 91–98.
Hardin, E. E., Weigold, I. K., Robitschek, C., & Nixon, A. E. (2007). Self-discrepancy and distress: The role of personal growth initiative. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(1), 86–92.
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: a regression-based approach (3rd edition). New York, NY, US; London, UK: The Guilford Press.
Hilliard, J. (2023, April 3). Social media addiction. Addiction Center.
Ho, D. Y. F. (1996). Filial piety and its psychological consequences. In The handbook of Chinese psychology (pp. 155–165). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.
Hong, S., Jahng, M. R., Lee, N., & Wise, K. R. (2020). Do you filter who you are?: Excessive self-presentation, social cues, and user evaluations of Instagram selfies. Computers in Human Behavior, 104, 106159.
Kim, J., & Lee, J.-E. R. (2011). The Facebook paths to happiness: Effects of the number of Facebook friends and self-presentation on subjective well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(6), 359–364. 2010.0374
Kuss, D., & Griffiths, M. (2017). Social networking sites and addiction: Ten lessons learned. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(3), 311.
Leary, M. R. (1983). A brief version of the fear of negative evaluation scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9(3), 371–375.
Lennox, R. D., & Wolfe, R. N. (1984). Revision of the self-monitoring scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46(6), 1349–1364.
Lin, K. Y., & Lu, H. P. (2011). Why people use social networking sites: An empirical study integrating network externalities and motivation theory. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1152–1161.
Majid, A., Yasir, M., Javed, A., & Ali, P. (2019). From envy to social anxiety and rumination: How social media site addiction triggers task distraction amongst nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(3), 504–513.
Martin, L., & Tapp, D. (2019). Teaching with Teams: An introduction to teaching an undergraduate law module using Microsoft Teams. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 3(3), 58–66.
Mululo, S. C. C., De Menezes, G. B., Vigne, P., & Fontenelle, L. F. (2012). A review on predictors of treatment outcome in social anxiety disorder. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 34(1), 92–100.
Mun, I. B., & Kim, H. (2021). Influence of false self-presentation on mental health and deleting behavior on Instagram: The mediating role of perceived popularity. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 660484.
Nelson, E. E. (2017). Learning through the ages: How the brain adapts to the social world across development. Cognitive Development, 42, 84–94. 2017.02.013
Norasakkunkit, V., & Kalick, S. M. (2009). Experimentally detecting how cultural differences on social anxiety measures misrepresent cultural differences in emotional well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(3), 313–327.
Pang, H. (2021). How compulsive WeChat use and information overload affect social media fatigue and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic? A stressor-strain-outcome perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 64, 101690. 2021.101690
Przepiorka, A., Błachnio, A., Cudo, A., & Kot, P. (2021). Social anxiety and social skills via problematic smartphone use for predicting somatic symptoms and academic performance at primary school. Computers & Education, 173, 104286.
Purwaningtyas, M. P. F., & Alicya, D. A. (2020). The fragmented self: Having multiple accounts in Instagram usage practice among Indonesian youth. Jurnal Media Dan Komunikasi Indonesia, 1(2), 171.
Roberts, J. A., & David, M. E. (2019). The social media party: Fear of missing out (FOMO), social media intensity, connection, and well-being. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 36(4), 386–392.
Rosenberg, J., & Egbert, N. (2011). Online impression management: Personality traits and concerns for secondary goals as predictors of self-presentation tactics on facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17(1), 1–18. 1083-6101.2011.01560.x
Schlechter, P., Hellmann, J. H., & Morina, N. (2022). Self-discrepancy, depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being: The role of affective style and self-efficacy. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 46(6), 1075–1086.
Schlenker, B. R., & Leary, M. R. (1982). Social anxiety and self-presentation: A conceptualization model. Psychological Bulletin, 92(3), 641–669.
Sharma, M. D., & Bewes, J. (2011). Self-monitoring: Confidence, academic achievement and gender differences in Physics. Journal of Learning Design, 4(3), 1–13.
Silmi, Z. K., Rachmawati, W. R., Sugiarto, A., & Hastuti, T. P. (2020). Correlation of intensity of use of social media with the level of social anxiety in adolescents. Midwifery and Nursing Research, 2(2), 60–64.
Smith, A. R., Nelson, E. E., Kircanski, K., Rappaport, B. I., Do, Q. B., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D. S., & Jarcho, J. M. (2020). Social anxiety and age are associated with neural response to social evaluation during adolescence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 42, 100768.
Snyder, M. (1979). Self-Monitoring processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 12, 85–128.
Stein, D. J. (2015). Social anxiety disorder and the psychobiology of self-consciousness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (2004). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In J. T. Jost & J. Sidanius (Eds.), Political Psychology (pp. 276–293). London, UK: Psychology Press.
Taqwa, M. I. (2018). The relationship between social media usage intensity and mental health in instagram stories [Undergraduate thesis, University of Muhammadiyah Malang].
Thompson, S. H., & Lougheed, E. (2012). Frazzled by Facebook? An exploratory study of gender differences in social network communication among undergraduate men and women. College Student Journal, 46(1), 88–98. AONE?u=googlescholar&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=0fa53292
Trepte, S., & Reinecke, L. (Eds.). (2011). Privacy Online: Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Turnley, W. H., & Bolino, M. C. (2001). Achieving desired images while avoiding undesired images: Exploring the role of self-monitoring in impression management. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(2), 351–360.
Tyler, J. M., Kearns, P. O., & McIntyre, M. M. (2016). Effects of self-monitoring on processing of self-presentation information. Social Psychology, 47(3), 174–178.
Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is there social capital in a social network site?: Facebook use and college students’ life satisfaction, trust, and participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(4), 875–901.
Voyer, B. G., & Franks, B. (2014). Toward a better understanding of self-construal theory: An agency view of the processes of self-construal. Review of General Psychology, 18(2), 101–114.
Warburton, S., & Hatzipanagos, S. (Eds.). (2012). Digital identity and social media: Harrisburg, PA, US: IGI Global.
Watson, D., & Friend, R. (1969). Measurement of social-evaluative anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33(4), 448–457.
Wiederhold, B. K. (2018). The tenuous relationship between instagram and teen self-identity. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(4), 215–216.
Wood, M. A., Bukowski, W. M., & Lis, E. (2016). The digital self: How social media serves as a setting that shapes youth’s emotional experiences. Adolescent Research Review, 1(2), 163–173.
Xu, Y., Schneier, F., Heimberg, R. G., Princisvalle, K., Liebowitz, M. R., Wang, S., & Blanco, C. (2012). Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: Results from the national epidemiologic sample on alcohol and related conditions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26(1), 12–19.
Zhao, L. (2023). Social media multitasking and college students’ academic performance: A situation–organism–behavior–consequence perspective. Psychology in the Schools, 60(9), 3151–3168.
Zhao, S., Grasmuck, S., & Martin, J. (2008). Identity construction on Facebook: Digital empowerment in anchored relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 1816–1836.
How to Cite
LAN, Lan. The Relationship Between Fragmented Self on Social Media, Self-Monitoring, and Social Anxiety: The Moderating Role of Gender. Asian Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 1, p. 269-282, mar. 2024. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 may 2024.
English Section