Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

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Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Ideology, politics, and the influence of values often override evidence-based policy. When there is evaluation conflict, a policy advocate must be prepared to defend his/her reasons for wanting to implement a policy. Because almost all proposed policies are circumscribed by politics (for reasons brought up by Jansson throughout the course when discussing the subtleties of policy implementation), you should be prepared for some conflict, ranging from having your research ignored, to having the accuracy of your data questioned, to having your personal values brought into question.

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In this Discussion, you consider the assertion that the evaluation of specific policies is often strongly influenced by values. You also examine and evaluate ways to mitigate evaluation conflict to defend the feasibility of your policy.

By Day 3

Post a response to Jansson’s assertion that evaluating specific policies is strongly influenced by values with respect to the case of the evaluation of special services. How do the values of evaluation conflict adhere to social work values? What practices would you use to defend the feasibility of and effectiveness of your evidence-based policy?

References (use 3 or more)

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.

English, D. J., Brummel, S., & Martens, P. (2009). Fatherhood in the child welfare system: Evaluation of a pilot project to improve father involvement. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(3), 213–234. Doi:10.1080/15548730903129764.

Swank, E. W. (2012). Predictors of political activism among social work students. Journal of Social Work Education,48(2), 245–266. Doi:10.5175/JSWE.2012.200900111.

Discussion 4: Becoming a Lifelong Advocate

It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.

—Tenzin Gyatso

As this course comes to a close, consider and reflect on how you can become a lifelong advocate for social change in your future social work practice. As a motivated policy advocate and social worker, your actions in your chosen profession will reflect your motivation to help relatively powerless, disenfranchised groups of people improve their resources, their opportunities, and their quality of life.

In this Discussion, you reflect upon your responsibility as a social worker, politically and professionally.

Post your thoughts on this question: As a social worker, what is your responsibility to engage in political action? Identify an area of social welfare where social work policy advocacy is needed.

References (use 3 or more)

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.

English, D. J., Brummel, S., & Martens, P. (2009). Fatherhood in the child welfare system: Evaluation of a pilot project to improve father involvement. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(3), 213–234. Doi:10.1080/15548730903129764.

Swank, E. W. (2012). Predictors of political activism among social work students. Journal of Social Work Education,48(2), 245–266. Doi:10.5175/JSWE.2012.200900111. Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values.

Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Narcissism and Social Networking Web Sites

Laura E. Buffardi W. Keith Campbell University of Georgia

Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of attention in the media surrounding the issue of narcis- sism and social networking Web sites (e.g., Baldwin & Stroman, 2007; Orlet, 2007; Vaidhyanathan, 2006). The concern is that these Web sites offer a gateway for self-promotion via self-descriptions, vanity via photos, and large numbers of shallow relationships (friends are counted—sometimes reaching the thousands—and in some cases ranked), each of which is potentially linked to trait narcissism.

The vast popularity of these sites suggests that the general psychology of the members will be largely nor- mative. That is, the 21 million members of Facebook arguably (although it is, of course, still an empirical question) look similar to others in society with similar demographics. This was not necessarily the case in the past and still might not be the case with lower base rate Web presences, like freestanding personal Web pages. For example, a study published in 2006 showed that owners of personal Web sites did differ from controls on several dimensions of the Big Five, and women, but not men, did differ in narcissism with female Web page owners reporting the higher narcissism scores (Marcus, Machilek, & Schütz, 2006).1

Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Our focus will thus not be on the mean-level narcis- sism score of the average social networking Web site user. Instead, we will address the question of how narcis- sism is manifested in these sites: Does narcissism predict

Authors’ Note: We would like to thank Laura Aikens, Laura Aquilino, Joel Frost, Jesse Hauch, Abby Levin, and Ben Porter for their assis- tance with data collection and coding. Please address correspondence to Laura E. Buffardi or W. Keith Campbell, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013; e-mail: lbuffardi@gmail.com or wkeithcampbell@gmail.com.

PSPB, Vol. 34 No. 10, October 2008 1303-1314 DOI: 10.1177/0146167208320061 © 2008 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

The present research examined how narcissism is manifested on a social networking Web site (i.e., Facebook.com). Narcissistic personality self-reports were collected from social networking Web page own- ers. Then their Web pages were coded for both objective and subjective content features. Finally, strangers viewed the Web pages and rated their impression of the owner on agentic traits, communal traits, and narcis- sism. Narcissism predicted (a) higher levels of social activity in the online community and (b) more self- promoting content in several aspects of the social networking Web pages. Strangers who viewed the Web pages judged more narcissistic Web page owners to be more narcissistic. Finally, mediational analyses revealed several Web page content features that were influential in raters’ narcissistic impressions of the owners, includ- ing quantity of social interaction, main photo self- promotion, and main photo attractiveness. Implications of the expression of narcissism in social networking communities are discussed.

Keywords: narcissism; social networking Web sites; Internet; self-presentation

The migration of individuals, especially teenagers andyoung adults, onto the Internet has occurred in staggering proportions. In particular, social networking Web sites—nonexistent just years ago—have drawn literally millions of users. Web sites such a MySpace .com (total users: 90 million per month; Stone, 2007) and Facebook.com (total users: 21 million members; Geist, 2007) have been at the forefront of this migration. These Web sites offer individuals the abilities, among others, to (a) create an individual Web page, (b) post self-relevant information (e.g., self-descriptions, photos), (c) link to other members (e.g., “friends lists”), and (d) interact with other members.

overall activity in a Web community? Is narcissism appar- ent in the content of the Web page, and if so, how? Finally, can the narcissism of a page owner be gleaned from the content of the Web page? Before discussing our design in detail, we briefly describe the construct of nar- cissism, review the literature on the social qualities of the Internet, and specify our predictions.

Narcissism and Social Behavior

Narcissism refers to a personality trait reflecting a grandiose and inflated self-concept. Specifically, narcis- sism is associated with positive and inflated self-views of agentic traits like intelligence, power, and physical attractiveness (Brown & Zeigler-Hill, 2004; Campbell, Rudich, & Sedikides, 2002; Gabriel, Critelli, & Ee, 1994; John & Robins, 1994) as well as a pervasive sense of uniqueness (Emmons, 1984) and entitlement (Campbell, Bonacci, & Shelton, 2004).2 From a basic trait perspective, narcissism is associated with a high degree of extraversion/agency and a low level of agree- ableness or communion (e.g., Miller & Campbell, 2008; Paulhus & Williams, 2002). A similar high agency pattern (and negative but typically small/nonsignificant correla- tions with communion) is also found in narcissists’ explicit self-conceptions (Campbell, Foster, & Finkel, 2002), implicit self-conceptions (Campbell, Bosson, Goheen, Lakey, & Kernis, 2007), and implicit motives (Carroll, 1987). Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values

Central to most theoretical models of narcissism in social-personality psychology is the use of social relation- ships in part to regulate self-esteem, self-concept positiv- ity, or narcissistic esteem (Campbell, 1999; Campbell, Brunell, & Finkel, 2006; Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001; Raskin, Novacek, & Hogan, 1991). Narcissists do not focus on interpersonal intimacy, warmth, or other posi- tive long-term relational outcomes, but they are very skilled at both initiating relationships and using rela- tionships to look popular, successful, and high in status in the short term. Narcissists participate in this dynamic “self-construction” (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001) via rela- tionships to constantly affirm their narcissistic esteem. It has been suggested that this process is due, at least par- tially, to narcissists’ dispositional impulsivity (Vazire & Funder, 2006). How does this narcissistic self-regulation or self-construction (we use these terms largely inter- changeably) operate in the context of interpersonal rela- tionships more specifically? First, narcissism is linked positively with relationship formation. For example, nar- cissism is associated with being (a) liked in initial inter- actions (Oltmanns, Friedman, Fiedler, & Turkheimer, 2004; Paulhus, 1998), (b) perceived as a leader (Brunell, Gentry, Campbell, & Kuhnert, 2006), (c) perceived as exciting (Foster, Shrira, & Campbell, 2003), (d) socially

confident (Brunell, Campbell, Smith, & Krusemark, 2004), (e) entertaining (Paulhus, 1998), and (f) able to obtain sexual partners (Foster, Shrira, & Campbell, 2006). Second, narcissism is associated negatively with seeking out or creating long-term relationships that have qualities of closeness, empathy, or emotional warmth (Brunell et al., 2004; Campbell, 1999; Campbell & Foster, 2002). Third, narcissism is associated with using relationships as an opportunity or forum for self- enhancement. For example, narcissists brag and show off (Buss & Chiodo, 1991), perform well when there is an opportunity for public glory (Wallace & Baumeister, 2002), and seek attractive, high-status, “trophy” roman- tic partners (Campbell, 1999). Others in relationships with narcissistic individuals, however, often suffer in the longer term as narcissism is linked to aggressiveness (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998), psychological control (Campbell, Foster, et al., 2002), game playing and infi- delity (Campbell, Foster, et al., 2002; Le, 2005; Schmitt & Buss, 2001), and lower levels of commitment (Campbell & Foster, 2002). Indeed, longitudinal research on rela- tionships has found that the initial likeability associated with narcissism fades and is even reversed in the longer term (Paulhus, 1998). Similarly, longitudinal research in clinical settings has found a significant long-term conse- quence of narcissism is the suffering of close others (Miller, Campbell, & Pilkonis, 2007).

How might narcissism operate in a social networking Web site? These online communities may be an especially fertile ground for narcissists to self-regulate via social connections for two reasons. First, narcissists function well in the context of shallow (as opposed to emotionally deep and committed) relationships. Social networking Web sites are built on the base of superficial “friendships” with many individuals and “sound-byte” driven commu- nication between friends (i.e., wallposts). Certainly, indi- viduals use social networking sites to maintain deeper relationships as well, but often the real draw is the abil- ity to maintain large numbers of relationships (e.g., many users have hundreds or even thousands of “friends”). Second, social networking Web pages are highly con- trolled environments (Vazire & Gosling, 2004). Owners have complete power over self-presentation on Web pages, unlike most other social contexts. In particular, one can use personal Web pages to select attractive photographs of oneself or write self-descriptions that are self-promoting. Past research shows that narcissists, for example, are boastful and eager to talk about themselves (Buss & Chiodo, 1991), gain esteem from public glory (Wallace & Baumeister, 2002), are prevalent on reality television (Young & Pinsky, 2006), and enjoy looking at themselves on videotape and in the mirror (Robins & John, 1997). Personal Web pages should present a similar opportunity for self-promotion. Discussion 3: Policies and the Influence of Values


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