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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 61-62

Facebook storytelling: Implications for expression of coping behaviors

1 Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

Date of Web Publication14-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Kumar Sharma
Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_51_16

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Social networking sites are commonly used for self-disclosure. It provides the user the opportunity for catharsis. The present case is going to highlight the implications of Facebook storytelling. Clinical interview and NIMHANS psychiatric morbidity screening tool were used to assess the pattern of Facebook usage and psychiatric caseness. Facebook storytelling helps in coping with psychiatric distress. It implies the need to screen and encourage the users to use offline method receiving psychological support as well as develop the offline healthy coping behaviors.

Keywords: Coping, distress, Facebook, story

How to cite this article:
Sharma MK, Chaturvedi SK, Mellor D. Facebook storytelling: Implications for expression of coping behaviors. J Mental Health Hum Behav 2017;22:61-2

How to cite this URL:
Sharma MK, Chaturvedi SK, Mellor D. Facebook storytelling: Implications for expression of coping behaviors. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 1];22:61-2. Available from: https://www.jmhhb.org/text.asp?2017/22/1/61/210713

  Introduction Top

Social networking portals such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have rapidly gained prominence as sites for relationship formation and maintenance. Seventy-two percent of adult Internet users engage in social networking. Its usage is greater among the younger population. Eighty-nine percent of the men and 69% of the women in the age group of 18–29 years are frequent users of Facebook.[1]

Recently, a number of scholars have attempted to understand how individuals form presentation of self online and have relied on dramaturgical approach,[1] to impression management.[2],[3],[4] The online communication allows greater opportunity for self expression and anonymity.[5] Females were more likely to discuss sensitive issues with online friends than with their real-life friends.[6] Since it also provides the facility of keeping your identity anonymous (”you don't know me”) and invisibility (”you can't see me”), it allows people to discuss sensitive issues online but not in real life.[7] With the frequent usage of social networking sites, the opportunity for expression of emotional experiences has expanded, with certain unique characteristics. The type of online communiaction (written, shared or receiving comments), increase the available social support and interaction with others.[8] Feedbeck received in the form of online comments enhanced one's self esteem.[9]

Given the high rates of use of social networking sites among adolescents, the study of online interactions and its impact on the self-esteem and well-being of adolescents is an upcoming area of research. Early and middle adolescence is characterized by an increased focus on self. On social networking sites, interpersonal feedback is often publicly available to all other members of the site. It is likely to affect user's self esteem.[10] Till date, the studies in this area yield mixed results. Here, we report a case on Facebook storytelling as a method of coping by one such individual. It is one of its kind reports in the available literature of social media.

  Case Report Top

This case presented to India's first clinic for Internet-related behaviors, the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic for the management of excessive use of Facebook. User revealed the presence of interpersonal problems, presence of cravings, feelings of loss of control, and experiencing compulsions as a consequence of excessive use of technology. The client had started using Facebook at the age of 11 years under peer pressure to communicate with friends and classmates. By the age of 13 years, she was using Facebook for 5–6 h every day, leading to problems in the areas of sleep, academic performance, interpersonal communication, and level of physical activity. She got 400 online friends. Being fond of reading fiction stories, she portrayed herself as story girl loner character staying in an unfriendly environment and making efforts to cope with the feelings of unhappiness, negative communication with family members, loneliness, etc. She used to put these stories on Facebook. She attributed greater feelings of well-being to support comments from other characters of the stories as well as from the online friends, i.e., ”you are doing very good,” “others can spend more time with you,” “you can ask for more attention from others,” etc. However, whenever she stopped using Facebook storytelling, she experienced feelings of loneliness, irritability, and anger. Psychiatric caseness was seen on NIMHANS psychiatric morbidity screening tool.[11] In the SHUT clinic, the client was provided with psychoeducation regarding social media usage and need for developing healthy real world coping behaviors. Behavioral contracting was used to promote the controlled use of technology as well as the family sessions conducted to enhance family support.

  Discussion and Conclusions Top

The case highlights the use of social media as a coping behavior. Studies have also found corroborative evidence that the open-text channel available in social media provokes self-reflection that is reminiscent of diary entries: Bloggers document their life events,[12] use blogging as a form of “catharsis” for working out their emotions.[13] Although the use of social media has also fostered the development of online communities, discussion, interaction, and support with individuals with psychological conditions are one group that has been particular users of these media.[14] Although social media provides the opportunity for self-disclosure, there is a need to screen and sensitize the users regarding its primary usage for receiving psychological support. It also implies to develop the offline healthy coping behaviors as well as evolve the therapeutic use of technology.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. E – Patients and Their Hunt for Health Information; 05 August, 2015.  Back to cited text no. 1
Goffman E. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday; 1959.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hewitt A, Forte A. Crossing boundaries: Identity Management and Student/Faculty Relationships on the Facebook, in Poster Session Presented at CSCW, Banff, Alberta, Canada; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mendelson A, Papacharissi Z. Look at us: Collective narcissism in college student Facebook photo galleries. In: The Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites. London, England: Routledge; 2010. p. 251-73.  Back to cited text no. 4
Tufekci Z. Grooming, gossip, facebook and myspace. Inf Commun Soc 2008;11:544-64.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bargh J, McKenna K, Fitzsimons G. Can you see the real me? Activation and expression of the “true self” on the Internet. J Soc Issues 2002;58:33-48.  Back to cited text no. 6
Cole H, Griffiths MD. Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. Cyberpsychol Behav 2007;10:575-83.  Back to cited text no. 7
Suler J. The online disinhibition effect. Cyberpsychol Behav 2004;7:321-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
Baker JR, Moore SM. Distress, coping, and blogging: Comparing new myspace users by their intention to blog. Cyberpsychol Behav 2008;11:81-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Harter S. The Construction of the Self: A Developmental Perspective. New York: Guilford Press; 1999.  Back to cited text no. 10
Sharma MK, Chaturvedi SK. Development and validation of NIMHANS screening tool for psychological problems in Indian context. Asian J Psychiatr 2014;10:33-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Nardi B, Schiano D, Gumprecht M, Swartz L. Why we blog. Commun ACM 2004;47:41-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
Huffaker D, Calvert S. Gender, identity, and language use in teenage blogs. J Comput Mediat Commun 2005;10:1-23. Available from: http://www.JCMC.indiana.edu/vol10/issue 2/huffaker.htm. [Last retrieved on 2015 Oct 18].  Back to cited text no. 13
Menon IS, Sharma MK, Chandra PS, Thennarasu K. Social networking sites: An adjunctive treatment modality for psychological problems. Indian J Psychol Med 2014;36:260-3.  Back to cited text no. 14
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