Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Kevin Meehan

Committee Chair and Members

Kevin Meehan, Chair,

Sara Haden

Leora Trub


Anger, Emotion regulation, Rejection sensitivity, Romantic conflict, Suicidal ideation, Suicide


As Instagram’s popularity has grown in recent years, so too has public and research interest grown in understanding the effects of Instagram use on young women. The present study joins a growing number of daily diary studies that explored momentary changes in negative affect, self-esteem, distress, vulnerable narcissism, and grandiose narcissism in response to browsing Instagram and exposure to distressing images. The role of narcissistic personality traits on such relationships was of particular interest. The present study implemented a naturalistic design with an in vivo procedure to also analyze post characteristics that contribute to negative emotional responses. Participants were 153 young adult women at a large urban university. Data were analyzed between- and within- subjects. At the average level, intense Instagram use was associated with increased negative affect, increased distress, and decreased self-esteem. Distress was associated with increased state vulnerable narcissism and decreased state grandiose narcissism. At the daily level, intense Instagram use was associated with decreased self-esteem and increased distress. Distress was associated with increased state vulnerable narcissism. Grandiose narcissism moderated the relationship between intensity of Instagram use and self-esteem at the daily level such that participants with higher levels of grandiose narcissism reported experiencing lower state self-esteem on days of intense Instagram use than those with lower levels of grandiose narcissism. Exploratory questions demonstrated the impact of image content and one’s relationship to the poster on emotional response. These results inform our understanding of the effects of using Instagram on young women both momentarily and over time.

Included in

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