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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Catfishing and Online Identity Management
by Williams, Victoria H., Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2020, 72; 28088246
Abstract (Summary)

Catfishing can be defined as a form of profile plagiarism, where an individual has stolen the online identity of another person and is using it as his or her own social media identity (Schulman, Joost, Jarecki, Ratner, & Smerling, 2010). Fake profiles may be created to initiate a deceptive relationship (SilverishGoldNova, 2017), and profile pictures do not necessarily need to be provided. Stealing one’s online identity became a pop culture trend in 2010 with the movie Catfish (Schulman et al., 2010). Past research has shown people on various online dating websites give misinformation about themselves regarding their weight, height, and age (Toma, Hancock, & Ellison, 2008) to enhance their profiles. This study examined the link between psychological characteristics (self-esteem, Machiavellianism, and adulthood attachments) and the phenomenon of catfishing, which can arguably be a form of impression management. Although there was a small sample size, findings showed significant gender differences. A majority of males were more likely to endorse catfishing others, while a majority of female participants fit the profile of a catfishee. It is important to note there were no female participants who solely endorsed being a catfish; if a female marked being a catfish, it meant she was also a catfishee. MACH-IV and the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSE) showed an equivalency in scores for catfish, and catfishees endorsed having a secure attachment with others on the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS). Future research indicates a need for more qualitative research to be completed to receive in-depth explanations as to why people catfish others.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bekerian, Debra
Commitee: O'Connor, Kevin J., Canfield, Merle
School: Alliant International University
Department: Fresno, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Web Studies, Social psychology
Keywords: Catfish, Catfishee, Catfishing, Online Identity Deception, Online Identity Management, Online Impression Management
Publication Number: 28088246
ISBN: 9798664753721
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