Demographic Factors, Self-representation, and Social Comparison as Determinants of Depressive Symptoms in Social Media Users: A University-based Survey

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, PMB 1515, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

2 Department of Psychology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa



Introduction: Recent evidence show that depressive symptoms is becoming a concern among university students. However, possible determining factors of this psychopathology is under investigated, especially among university students. This study aimed to examine demographics, self-representation, and social comparison as determinants of depressive symptoms among university undergraduates.
Method: This correlational study sampled 299-undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin purposively (male 66.6% and 44.4% female) in 2021. A questionnaire-pack comprising of Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation, Embodied Sense of Self, and Self-Rating Depression Scales were utilized to collect data while Pearson’s correlation coefficient and stepwise multiple regression were used to analyze the results.
Results: Findings revealed a significant positive correlation between depressive symptoms, age, and social comparison; however, depression was negatively associated with self-representation. Additionally, results indicated three prediction steps; age, relationship status, and social comparison; social comparison and relationship status, and social comparison alone as predictors of depressive symptoms at 0.20%, 19%, and 17% variance respectively among participants.
Conclusion: Age, relationship status, social comparison, and self-representation can be used to explain depressive symptoms among undergraduate students. University counseling services should build these factors into intervention when treating depression among students.


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