Perceived Social Support and Facebook Use Among Adolescents

Perceived Social Support and Facebook Use Among Adolescents

Yavuz Akbulut (Anadolu University, Turkey) and Selim Günüç (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijcbpl.2012010103
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Online social networks have gained considerable popularity among adolescents, but investigations on adolescent engagement with this technology have been limited. The current study investigated adolescents’ Facebook use with regard to their perceived social support characteristics. The data were collected from 255 adolescents in two provincial state schools in Turkey. A personal information form and 12 scaled items were used to collect data. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted on scale items and relationships between social support and Facebook use behaviors were investigated. Findings revealed that perceived social support from significant others were predicted by the time spent on Facebook. More support from actual face-to-face friends meant fewer online friends whereas more support from significant others meant more online friends. Profile and security settings varied with regard to perceived social support as well. Regardless of socioeconomic status, less family support was related with adding unknown people haphazardly, and using Internet cafés. Finally, less friend support was related with resorting to nicknames rather than real names. Findings are discussed accompanied with limitations of the current study and suggestions for further research.
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Literature Review

Social related factors have been considered among crucial predictors of Facebook use. For instance, Cheung et al. (2010) hypothesized that the usage of online social networks was an intentional social action. They explained the phenomenon through adapting the social influence and social presence theories. In this regard, the presence of other was considered the most important feature attracting users to use Facebook, particularly for those who use Facebook for communication purposes. Similarly, Baker and White (2010) adopted the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) to predict Australian adolescents’ use of social networks. The theory accounts for the influences in individuals’ complex behaviors and suggests that intentions are the primary predictors of behaviors. That is, the likelihood of engagement in a specific behavior increases when the intention and the motivation captured by that intention are stronger. Support was found for the theory in predicting frequent engagement in social networks.

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