Identity lost and found: Self-concept clarity in social network site contexts

Qing Yang, Kees van den Bos, Xiaoying Zhang, Savannah Adams, Oscar Ybarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social network sites (SNSs) allow young people to experiment with and present different aspects of themselves during important periods of self-concept development. Interestingly, whether SNSs have negative or positive effects on self-concept clarity (SCC) is inconclusive. We propose that SNS use may simultaneously produce negative and positive effects on SCC, depending on how people use it and the social connection quality created on-line. Specifically, the suppressing mediation model reveals that the direct effect of SNS use intensity on SCC is negative, whereas the indirect effects via perceived social support and self-esteem are positive, suggesting these variables may suppress the negative effect of SNS use on SCC. Our framework helps to explain how SNS contexts influence identity development in young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-429
Number of pages24
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number4
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • identity
  • self-concept clarity
  • self-esteem
  • Social network site
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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