Facebook use and its relationship to social connectedness and loneliness: The moderating role of social skills
Past research suggests that Facebook may function as an alternative social medium though which individuals can form and maintain relationships and satisfy their social connectedness needs (Grieve et al., 2013). Less in known, however, about what type of communication on Facebook fosters social connectedness, and if using Facebook is equally as effective in enhancing positive psychosocial outcomes for all users. Researchers have increasingly turned efforts towards investigating whether Facebook may specifically be beneficial for enhancing the social connectedness of people who struggle with in-person communication due to various reasons such as shyness, social anxiety, and social skills deficits (e.g., Kraut et al., 2002; Ryan & Xenos, 2011; Burke et al., 2010). The purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between one’s type of communication on Facebook and psychosocial outcome variables of loneliness and social connectedness by examining the potential moderating role of level of social skills. A sample of 120 non-clinical undergraduate students completed self-report measures examining loneliness, social connectedness, motivation for connection, social skills, engagement in various activities on Facebook, and attitudes about Facebook. While the statistical trends found in the current data do not allow us to draw firm conclusions about the results, the present study offers tentative support to the literature that directed Facebook use may be associated with greater feelings of intimate social connectedness for low socially skilled individuals, whereas directed activity is less related to connectedness for individuals high in social skills. Results also indicate that the pattern of one’s Facebook use is associated with their level of social skill and social connectedness—namely that exclusively passive users may struggle more in these areas than the rest of users. Results contribute to our knowledge of how individual variables, such as social skills, interact with Facebook use and psychosocial wellbeing, and speak to continued need to explore this area further.
NotesDegree awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. Department of Psychology