Facebook engagement on college students' interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning
In recent years college students have incorporated social-networking sites, and more specifically Facebook, into their daily lives. Facebook has received empirical attention; attention focused on what students are doing on Facebook, who its users are, and, more recently, why students access Facebook. However, researchers who have assessed motivations for accessing Facebook have emphasized how motivations are associated with certain activities, and have not simultaneously and directly examined how activities and motivations are associated with both maladaptive and adaptive factors of students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning. The purpose of the present study was to examine how Facebook engagement is associated with college student functioning. Data were collected from 208 undergraduate students attending a large Midwestern university and were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression (HMR), simultaneous multiple regression (SMR), and canonical correlation analysis (CCA). The results indicated that the Facebook motivation to cope was negatively associated with conscientiousness; the motivation to enhance was positively associated with life-satisfaction and negatively associated with loneliness and identity distress; and the motivation to conform was negatively associated with social connectedness and positively associated with identity distress. Further, the results indicated that the Facebook activity of social comparison was negatively associated with social connectedness; the activity of linking was positively associated with life-satisfaction and negatively associated with loneliness; and the activity of posting self-in-focus photos (i.e., “selfies”) was negatively associated with social connectedness and life-satisfaction and positively associated with loneliness and identity distress. Finally, two Facebook Engagement variables were identified by CCA. The first, Common Facebook Engagement, was positively associated with identity distress. The second, Passive Social Monitoring, was positively associated with social connectedness and life-satisfaction. Overall, the findings suggest that counseling psychologists who work with college students could gain insight into college students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning by assessing both Facebook activities and motivations at intake and throughout the therapeutic process. Additionally, in accordance with the Self-Determination Theory of motivation, it may be helpful for counseling psychologists to be aware that college students’ intrinsic motivation to access Facebook is likely positively associated with their interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning.
Servaty-Seib, Purdue University.
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