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Social networking sites use and loneliness in young adults during COVID-19 : the mediational role of social connectedness

Bousardt, H. M. (2021) Social networking sites use and loneliness in young adults during COVID-19 : the mediational role of social connectedness.

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Abstract:Background. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s life has changed. Due to governmental measures and preventive behaviours regarding in-person social contact, the prevalence of loneliness among the population has risen. Especially young adults show to be at risk of feeling lonely. Additionally, loneliness is associated with a variety of psychological and physiological effects which decrease well-being and resilience. Based on the increased prevalence of loneliness and restricted possibilities to have in-person social contact, this research focused on the impact of using Social Networking Sites (SNS) on experienced loneliness. Existing studies mainly focused on SNS use in general without distinguishing passive and active use. Moreover, possible mediating factors between SNS use and loneliness were scarcely investigated. Therefore, this study investigated the hypothesized positive effect of active SNS use on loneliness as well as social connectedness as mediating factor within this relationship. Method. Through convenience and snowball sampling, a total sample of 101 participants between the ages of 18 to 29 years were acquired. The participants were asked to fill out an online survey which included questionnaires measuring the variables of loneliness, social connectedness, SNS use, and time spent on SNS to be controlled for. Results. The mediation analysis revealed that more active SNS use did not significantly predict lowered feelings of loneliness. Additionally, social connectedness did not show to mediate the predicted relationship between SNS use and loneliness. The effect of SNS use on social connectedness showed to be non-significant. In contrast, more perceived social connectedness significantly predicted reduced feelings of loneliness. Conclusion. Overall, the present study did not confirm the hypothesized outcomes. Nonetheless, valuable implications for future research were identified and the results contributed to the divergent findings of past studies investigating the effect of SNS use on feelings of loneliness.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/87581
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