FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a phrase coined by young people, but a new study says it’s a feeling people of all ages can relate to. Washington State University researchers have found that aspects of self-perceptions, namely loneliness, low self-esteem and low self-compassion, were more closely associated with FOMO than age was.
The data shows that social media use was not a good predictor of FOMO. Lead study author Chris Barry explains, “We’re not all equally prone to the Fear of Missing Out, but for those who are, social media can exacerbate it. Social media allows you to witness what other people are doing and what’s going on in their lives. If there’s already concern about missing out, then there will be distress at seeing that on social media.”
The one good thing this study found was that, while FOMO can have negative impacts, it did not appear to relate to people’s sense of life satisfaction—the experts say this indicates that the feeling is not an overwhelming social anxiety.