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Computer Mediated Communication and Social Anxiety: Are the Benefits of Disclosing Online Contingent on Disclosing Face-to-face

  • Author / Creator
    Joseph, Jessica Jean
  • Young people with social anxiety are vulnerable to deficits in social connectedness and appraisals of their subjective wellbeing. Computer mediated communication (CMC) tools (e.g., text messaging, social networking sites) encourage interacting with friends, are ubiquitous in the lives of young people today, and have demonstrated some compensatory potential for those with social anxiety in the present CMC literature. However, the use of these technologies to supplement current intervention strategies for young people with social anxiety is currently overlooked. The present study explores the therapeutic potential of CMC by investigating whether self-disclosing using CMC affords benefits, in terms of social connectedness and subjective wellbeing, for young people with social anxiety; and whether the potential benefits are contingent on the level of intimate self-disclosure these young people are already engaging in less mediated form in the real world. A sample of 427 Canadian undergraduate students (aged 17-21 years old; M =19.22) self-reported their level of social anxiety, CMC self-disclosure, non-CMC (real-time, face-to-face) self-disclosure, feelings of social connectedness, and subjective wellbeing. Model 7 of the PROCESS macro for SPSS was used to test whether young people with social anxiety benefitted from CMC self-disclosure, in terms of social connectedness and subjective wellbeing, as a function of non-CMC self-disclosure. CMC self-disclosure was associated with increased feelings of social connectedness and thereby enhanced subjective wellbeing; however, these benefits were only conferred to those individuals who already reported comfort disclosing information in non-CMC modes, namely, largely face-to-face. Theoretical and clinical interpretations are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-153f-pa66
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.