The dialectical experience of the fear of missing out for U.S. American iGen emerging adult college students

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Abstract

FoMO, the fear of missing out, is a salient and significant experience with personal and relational consequences. This study qualitatively analyzed 35 interviews with iGen emerging adult college students about their experiences with FoMO. Framed by relational dialectics theory 2.0 (Baxter, L. A. (2011). Voicing relationships: A dialogic perspective. Sage), we found two relational-level contradictions, connection and disconnection and inclusion and exclusion, which are illuminated by the cultural-level interplay of the discourses of ‘carpe diem’ and ‘investment in the future.’ Findings indicate that through the discourse of carpe diem, participants attempt to increase the power awarded to relational and personal resources and expand what it means to invest in the future. Implications of these findings related to well-being and academic success are discussed and practical applications for institutions of higher education such as team-based learning and more holistic professional development programs are presented.

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Harrigan, M. M., Benz, I., Hauck, C., LaRocca, E., Renders, R., & Roney, S. (2021). The dialectical experience of the fear of missing out for U.S. American iGen emerging adult college students. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 49(4), 424–440. https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2021.1898656

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