Researchers Exploring the Reasons for "Sadfishing" Over Social Media

Sad-fishing, identified by the researchers as “a trend for people on social media to post hyped emotive reactions to elicit sympathies,” is an online activity that has legitimate uses: highlighting the inner workings of someone else's mind which can be a powerful tool when communicating with others. In this case, however, sad-fishing can become a negative form of online expression — often expressed in a way that is seen as cringe-worthy (a word almost synonymous with internet cliche).

Sad-fishing, or hoping to receive sympathy on social media by complaining about problems or misfortunes that are not true, may lead people to feel isolated and alone. This can be especially true when individuals see the same sentiments expressed by people in their real life, which has led psychologists to investigate how this behavior is impacting those who contend with it.

Researcher conducted a study to explore the factors in psychology that encourage unhappiness. According to their theory, unhappy persons own an apprehensive attachment bond and receive less support from others in person or digitally.

This study's volunteers were gathered via ads on different social networks. Three thousand forty-seven individuals signed up for this drive. These people responded to a survey detailing their sad-fishing activities over the previous year. They were questioned about whether they sensed pressure to embellish a private or physical condition digitally. These remarks divided respondents into "unhappy" and "happy" groupings.

This study aimed to examine the reasons behind people engaging in sad-fishing on the internet and how this may be an indication of a lower level of the adult bond. Participants were found to be very similar in both areas, indicating that over-liking a post or creating a false account is not indicative of low levels of adult bond support.

The study examined whether sad-fishers were more feasible to be lonely, using a self-report measure of sociable help. Results indicate that sadfishers are comparable to non-sadfishers in their sociable backing and interactional relation development, but sadfisher players have greater levels of an apprehensive bond.

The experimenters believe that while a more significant inclination to influence others may not be directly related to uneasy bond, it likely plays a role. The study found that social anxiety negatively correlated with anxious attachment and “sad-fishermen” were more likely to use more manipulative tactics than those who described themselves as less anxious.

The facts only showed a "sensation" as a significant connection between despair and apprehensive affection; there was no substantial analytical connection between the two, according to the researchers, who also noted several other shortcomings. Additionally, they suggest that a statistical test be designed to effectively recognize unhappiness.

To improve therapeutic techniques, Lead researcher Cara Petrofes and her team finish by urging deeper research into the causes of being unhappy.

Read next: 37% of Women Still Don’t Have Internet Access in 2022
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