Personality Traits, Boredom, and Loneliness as Predictors of Facebook Use in On-Campus and Online University Students

Personality Traits, Boredom, and Loneliness as Predictors of Facebook Use in On-Campus and Online University Students

Jason Skues (Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia), Ben J. Williams (Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia) and Lisa Wise (Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2017040104
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Abstract

This study examined the relationship between individual differences (Big Five personality traits, self-esteem, loneliness, narcissism, shyness, and boredom) and social networking behaviours in two samples of Australian undergraduate students, one enrolled on-campus (n = 93) and another in a completely online (n = 113) version of the same subject. Participants completed an online questionnaire measuring personality traits, psychological variables, and Facebook use. Negative binomial regression models showed that on-campus students with higher levels of neuroticism, extraversion, and loneliness tended to have more Facebook friends, however, no significant predictors of number of friends were found for online students. There were no significant predictors of time spent using Facebook per day for either cohort. Contrary to expectations, boredom was not a significant predictor of time spent on Facebook for on-campus students, but the low participation and completion rate for this on-campus group suggests that students high on boredom proneness were unlikely to have completed the survey.
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Introduction

Personality Traits Predicting Facebook Use

Facebook was originally developed as an online social network to allow students to maintain contact with college friends once they left school. This led to Facebook being the predominant social network used by college students to keep in touch with former school mates after they headed off to college. Facebook is now open to all persons (although use is prohibited or discouraged in some countries) and has become the Internet’s most well-known social networking site with more than one billion active users (Facebook, 2013) who spend anywhere from a few minutes to more than two hours per day on this website (Kalpidou, Costin, & Morris, 2011; Moore & McElroy, 2012; Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2009; Ross, Orr, Sisic, Arseneault, Simmering, & Orr, 2009).

Much of the early research on university students’ Facebook use explored the relationship between traits from five factor personality models (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1992; Goldberg, 1990) and Facebook use. Results regarding the relationship between broad traits and general use have been equivocal. Some studies have found users high in extraversion spend more time (Wilson, Fornasier, & White, 2010) and have more Facebook friends (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010) other studies have not found these associations (Ross et al., 2009). Other studies have found relationships between these traits and more specific online behaviours, such as how much personal information users share and which Facebook tools are used (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010).

Openness has been associated with spending more time on Facebook and having more Facebook friends (Skues, Williams, & Wise, 2012) and using more Facebook features (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010). Surprisingly, high agreeableness was not associated with having more Facebook friend (Ross et al., 2009) and there is mixed evidence for a negative relationship between conscientiousness and time spent on Facebook (Kalpidou et al., 2011; Wilson et al., 2010). Only a few studies have speculated on relationships between personality traits and social networking on productivity (i.e., study habits and academic performance). Wise, Skues, and Williams (2011) noted that conscientiousness could moderate relationships with time spent on Facebook depending on the motive for using Facebook. If Facebook is a distraction, one might expect low conscientiousness to be associated with more time spent on Facebook; if Facebook is a medium for discussing study material with friends, one might expect the reverse.

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