The Internet may be conceptualized as a social laboratory, providing freedom to experiment with different presentations of self. Adolescence is an important time in the development of self-concept; however, little is known about how clarity of self-concept relates to online behavior. The principal aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that self-concept clarity would be associated with adolescents’ inclination to experiment with online self-presentation. One hundred forty-eight participants aged 13–18 completed the Self-Concept Clarity Scale, the Facebook Intensity Scale, and the Presentation of Online Self Scale (POSS). Adolescents possessing a less stable sense of self reported experimenting with online self-presentation more regularly, presenting an idealized version of self and a preference for presenting themselves online. Adolescents with a more stable self-concept reported presenting an online self which was more consistent with their offline self-presentation. Younger adolescents were more likely to present an inconsistent self, whereas older adolescents presented themselves more consistently across different communication contexts. Finally, adolescents who spent more time on Facebook and had fewer Facebook friends were more likely to present multiple versions of sfile:///Users/xietian/Downloads/SP-Theory-Bem-Advances.pdfelf while online. The implications of these findings will be discussed in terms of the development of self-concept during adolescence and the potential for the online world to facilitate flexible identity construction and self-presentation.
- self-concept clarity