Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Kimberli Treadwell

Honors Major



Clinical Psychology | Psychology


Social comparisons between peers are generally adaptive in that they facilitate social learning. However, certain forms of social comparison, especially upward comparison in the form of fear of missing out (FoMO), are posited to relate to both depression and anxiety. Empirical evidence supports that increased FoMO is associated with increased depression in adolescents, both in terms of trait-like aspects as well as in daily fluctuations. However, scant evidence exists for ties to anxiety. This study examined social comparison in the form of FoMO and anxiety in late adolescents to examine potential daily relationships between the two constructs across time. Ninety participants were recruited for a 7-day daily diary examination of their FoMO and anxiety to examine daily fluctuations between these variables. A final sample of 50 undergraduates completed all assessments in the experiment. Repeated self-reports were hierarchically nested within each person’s daily reports, and thus multi-level methods (MLM) were used to examine results. Results indicated that daily FoMO predicted feelings of anxiety, that this relationship was consistently significant over a 7-day period within each person (Level 1), and that this interaction existed for all persons in the study (Level 2). Findings are discussed in terms of mitigating potential harm from social comparison, particularly for FoMO on social media, given its ties to daily fluctuations of anxiety in the current study, as well as to depression in the existant literature.