The role of online social networking in social support, stress, technology utilization and individual differences




Robinson, Sara

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Online social networking (OSN) is a type of computer-mediated communication that allows users to electronically communicate with their networks via social applications and gadgetry. The current paper suggests that OSN may provide its users with social support, which then reduces stress. OSN was also expected to be linked to individual differences, including extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and gender. However, results indicated that OSN did not significantly predict psychological stress, social support quality or social support quantity. Only agreeableness and gender were significantly correlated with OSN usage. An explanation for these mixed results may be that OSN was inaccurately characterized by the dominant mode of communication (e.g., frequent online communication), as opposed to the frequency of OSN use. Future studies should evaluate alternate perspectives OSN in conjunction with health correlates.


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computer-mediated communication, electronic communication, online social networking, social networking, social support, stress