Reinforcement or Displacement? The Reciprocity of FtF, IM, and SNS Communication and Their Effects on Loneliness and Life Satisfaction

Tobias Dienlin, Philipp K. Masur, Sabine Trepte

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Does communication on social network sites (SNSs) or instant messengers (IMs) reinforce or displace face-to-face (FtF) communication, and how do the 3 channels affect loneliness and life satisfaction? Using cross-lagged structural equation modeling in a longitudinal and representative sample from Germany, we found that SNS communication increased both FtF and IM communication 6 months later. Likewise, IM communication at T1 increased SNS communication at T2. FtF, SNS, and IM communication did not affect loneliness, and FtF and IM communication did not change life satisfaction. However, communication on SNSs slightly increased life satisfaction. Thus, the data indicated that conversing via SNSs and IM has a mainly reinforcing effect and that communicating via SNSs can enhance life satisfaction several months later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Face-to-Face
  • Instant Messenger
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Loneliness
  • SEM
  • Social Network Site

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