College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Joseph Ferrari, PhD

Second Advisor

Theresa Luhrs, PhD


Social zapping refers to the tendency to cancel plans or appointments shortly before they are supposed to take place in order to attend plans deemed “better” than the original (Müller et al., 2020). With the recent global pandemic occurring and forced isolation presenting as a consequence, the population more than ever has turned to technology to keep up with their relationships (Pennington, 2021). Because of this, social zapping has become increasingly prevalent. Although there is clear need to assess social zapping, few empirical studies have been conducted regarding the predictors and implications of social zapping (Müller et al., 2020; 2021). The present study sought to examine potential predictors of social zapping, including behavioral traits such as the four fundamental needs (belongingness, self-esteem, sense of control, and meaningful existence). Furthermore, the present study sought to determine if the four fundamental needs were predictors of social zapping in individuals aged 40-75 years old. Data utilized for the present study was collected in 2021. The present study found that belongingness and self-esteem significantly predicted social zapping tendencies with belongingness being the strongest predictor. The present study also found that older adults have a significant, more positive relationship with self-esteem, sense of control, and meaningful existence than individuals aged 39 and younger. The population of young adults (aged 18-39) were found to have stronger, more positive relationships with belongingness. Social zapping was found to be nonsignificant for both older adults and younger adults. The current study additionally found social desirability to be a significant predictor of self-esteem and meaningful existence. Overall, the present study builds on what is currently a new phenomenon in research and will provide new information on the relationship between age, social zapping, and behavioral traits such as the four fundamental needs.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons