College-aged users behavioral strategies to reduce envy on social networking sites: A cross-cultural investigation

Helena Wenninger*, Christy MK Cheung, Hanna Krasnova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Social networking sites (SNSs) are central to social interaction and information sharing in the digital age. However, consuming social information on SNSs invites social upward comparisons with highly socially desirable profile representations, which easily elicits envy in users and leads to unfavorable behaviors on SNSs. This in turn can erode the subjective well-being of users and the sustainability of the SNS platform. Therefore, this paper seeks to develop a better theoretical understanding of how users respond to envy on SNSs. We review literature on envy in offline interactions to derive three behavioral strategies to reduce envy, which we then transfer to the SNS context (self-enhancement, gossiping, and discontinuous intention). Further, we propose a research model and examine how culture, specifically individualism-collectivism, affects the relationship between envy on an SNS and the three strategies. We empirically test the variance-based structural equation model through survey data collected of Facebook users from Germany and Hong Kong. Our findings provide first insights into the link between envy on SNSs, related behavioral strategies and the moderating role of individualism for self-enhancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Envy on SNSs
  • Social networking sites
  • Facebook
  • Behavioral strategies to reduce SNS-Induced
  • envy
  • Culture
  • User behaviors


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