Clinical Topics in Social Media: The Role of Self-Disclosing on Social Media for Friendship and Identity in Specialized Populations

Clinical Topics in Social Media: The Role of Self-Disclosing on Social Media for Friendship and Identity in Specialized Populations

Jessica J. Joseph (Mount Royal University, Canada) and Diana Florea (Alberta Health Services, Canada)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9412-3.ch002
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The overall objective of the proposed chapter is to increase the reader's understanding of the role that social media plays in self-disclosing information about ourselves in the development of friendships and identity, as well as explore these themes in a clinical context. As such, readers will gain knowledge regarding the relations between self-disclosing on social media sites and the ensuing friendship and identity development that occurs, the extension of the research findings to clinical populations, and the questions that still remain unanswered. This information may be useful for the advancement of research, policy development, mental health programs, parenting, and education.
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What Is Social Media

Social media is a term that can be extended to any form of technology that aids in our communication with others. This includes text messaging, instant (or direct) messaging, online gaming, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and e-mail. All of these have one major theme in common: They are intended to be social environments that allow for quick and easy connections to be made among existing and new friends (Smith & Anderson, 2018). While there are a number of different types of social media, social networking sites, video sharing sites, gaming and direct messaging will be the focus of the current chapter.

Social media has become ubiquitous with daily life. Internationally, billions of people log onto social media sites every single day (Stats, 2018). In fact, the Pew Research Centre estimates that roughly 70% of the American public uses some form of social media, with the majority of logins occurring daily (Factsheet, 2018). According to Smith and Anderson (2018), the most popular social media sites include the video sharing site YouTube (73% of American adults), and social networking sites such as Facebook (68% of American adults), Instagram (35% of American adults), or SnapChat (27% of American Adults). On average, social media users are comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 years, with female users being slightly more common than male users (Factsheet, 2018; Greenwood et al., 2016). It should also be noted that there is a growing number of adolescent social media users, roughly 85% of American adolescents (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). Adolescents generally follow the same social media use patterns as young adults, where the video sharing site YouTube (85% of American adolescents) was among the most popular, followed by the social networking sites Instagram (72%), SnapChat (69%), and Facebook (51%).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Friendship: An interpersonal bond between two or more people that includes a level of emotional attachment.

Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder: A clinical term used in the classification of symptoms including psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, disorganization, and marked social impairments.

Video Sharing Sites: A specific form of social media that includes uploading or sharing videos and broadcasting them to some combination of friends and/or strangers.

Social Compensation Hypothesis: A hypothesis that postulates that individuals with social challenges may be able to use social media to compensate for their limited social exchanges.

Depression: Clinically referred to as Major Depressive Disorder, a clinical categorization for a disorder containing extreme sadness, hopelessness, and decreased interest in social engagements.

social networking sites: A specific form of social media that includes creating an online profile to share photos, videos, and text based personal information that is broadcasted to friends on the internet.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A clinical term used to classify symptoms of a disorder that includes pervasive developmental delays and severely impaired social functioning.

Social media: A term that extends to any technological medium that helps facilitate communication and connections.

Identity: A specific set of principles, morals, and values by which an individual views, and acts in, the world around them.

Social Penetration Theory: A theory developed to demonstrate the mechanism by which individuals develop close relationships is through increasingly personal self-disclosure.

Anxiety: A clinical term used to define a state of fear, worry, and stress. Anxiety is also a cluster of a variety of fear and stressed based symptoms that often result in social avoidance.

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