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Report: Social media trend sadfishing could be linked to fear of commitment

Recent studies by scientists on human behavior show that “sadfishing” on social media is strongly linked to anxious attachment styles. “Sadfishing” refers to the exaggeration of emotional problems on the Internet in order to gain sympathy and attention.

The researchers found that those who engage in sadfishing often show symptoms of anxious attachment. This attachment style is characterized by a constant need for approval from others as well as a fear of abandonment. Sadfishing can be more than just a momentary cry for help; it can be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder, according to the study.

Although this practice is not new, experts say it has been made easier by its connection to social media.

Explained: What is the “sadfishing” trend on social media?

Don Grant, PhD, national consultant for Healthy Device Management at Newport Healthcare in Los Angeles, California, said Fox News that the phenomenon is nothing new.

The award-winning media psychologist, speaker and published researcher who identified this trend first gained national attention through Kendall Jenner's 2019 campaign when she revealed her struggle with acne during her partnership with Proactiv.

“This person posts something that is kind of vague or, frankly, sounds a little threatening or sad,” he said of today's “sadfishing.”

Grant said he suggests questions at the beginning and end of his presentations.

“My friends who are close to me know what's going on with me. They know my daily life,” he said.

“When you post something on social media, what is your motivation for doing it, what do you need or want people outside your inner circle to know? What is your reason for posting? What is your motivation for posting something for the whole world to see? [to see]?”

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