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The associations of use of social network sites with perceived social support and loneliness

Caba Machado, V, McIlroy, D, Adamuz, FMP, Murphy, RC and Palmer-Conn, S (2022) The associations of use of social network sites with perceived social support and loneliness. Current Psychology. ISSN 1046-1310

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Research shows that use of social network sites is associated with loneliness and this may be amplified in tertiary students by their transition from home life, especially if they struggle to integrate with peers. The buffering effects of social support may offer a solution and the online dimension may offer a suitable outlet for lonely and isolated students. In this study, N = 111 university students, aged 18-40, completed a frequency assessment of Instagram and WhatsApp, the Spanish version of the UCLA loneliness scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Social Support in an online survey. The statistical analysis was completed by Structural Equation Modeling using AMOS 25.0. The construct validity of social network sites was established by good factor loadings for WhatsApp and Instagram, but Facebook was excluded as it did not load adequately on to the latent measurement model, in keeping with the diminishing trend for Facebook use in young students. Loneliness emerged as pivotal in a mediation model, and online social support from friends/significant others, emerged as salient in the predictive model in contrast to family. However, these associations may not have the same advantageous weight for mature students given the observed negative associations with age. Results may have implications for policy and planning through highlighting the psychological variables that are operative in the dynamics of integration, retention, and adjustment to tertiary level experience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Springer
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 09:59
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2024 16:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s12144-021-02673-9
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16491
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