Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness

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The unprecedented popularity of the social networking site Facebook raises a number of important questions regarding the impact it has on sociality. However, as Facebook is a very recent social phenomenon, there is a distinct lack of psychological theory relating to its use. While research has begun to identify the types of people who use Facebook, this line of investigation has been limited to student populations. The current study aimed to investigate how personality influences usage or non-usage of Facebook. The sample consisted of 1324 self-selected Australian Internet users (1158 Facebook users and 166 Facebook nonusers), between the ages of 18 and 44. Participants were required to complete an online questionnaire package comprising the Big Five Inventory (BFI), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory – 29-item version (NPI-29), the Revised Cheek and Buss Shyness Scale (RCBS), and the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults – Short version (SELSA-S). Facebook users also completed a Facebook usage questionnaire. The results showed that Facebook users tend to be more extraverted and narcissistic, but less conscientious and socially lonely, than nonusers. Furthermore, frequency of Facebook use and preferences for specific features were also shown to vary as a result of certain characteristics, such as neuroticism, loneliness, shyness and narcissism. It is hoped that research in this area continues, and leads to the development of theory regarding the implications and gratifications of Facebook use.

Research highlights

► We investigated how personality influences usage or non-usage of Facebook. ► Facebook users were more extraverted and narcissistic than nonusers. ► Facebook nonusers were more conscientious and socially lonely than users. ► Facebook usage habits varied as a result of certain personality traits.


  • Facebook;
  • Big Five;
  • Personality;
  • Narcissism;
  • Shyness;
  • Loneliness


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