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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Associations between online and offline social functioning in emerging adults Khalis Bin Abdul Karim, Adri


More so than any other age demographic, emerging adults are using social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook, in addition to face-to-face interactions, to establish and maintain social relationships. Yet, despite a growing reliance on SNS, there is a dearth of research overall regarding the nature of online social interactions and how they may relate to face-to-face social functioning in emerging adulthood. Further, although psychopathology has been found to impact the face-to-face social functioning of emerging adults, it is unclear as to whether online social functioning may be similarly impacted. The current study documents different aspects of Facebook interactions and explores the associations between such aspects of Facebook interactions and important constructs in face-to-face relationships. In addition, I investigate the associations between these dimensions of online social functioning and common psychopathology, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxious- depressive symptoms. Participants were 240 international or Aboriginal first-year university students who attended a 2-week orientation program. Participants’ Facebook profiles and activity were observationally coded. Sociometric procedures within the orientation program indexed participants’ face-to-face social acceptance and reciprocated friendships. Participants also reported on their ADHD and anxious-depressive symptomatology. Results revealed four aspects that constitute emerging adults’ Facebook activity: Facebook Involvement, Positive Facebook Interactions, Negative Facebook Interactions, and Narcissistic Self-Presentation. Emerging adults who reported more ADHD symptomatology had greater Facebook Involvement but more Negative Facebook Interactions. Emerging adults who had more reciprocated friendships displayed greater Facebook Involvement and Narcissistic Self- Presentation. In contrast, more acceptance by peers predicted less Narcissistic Self-Presentation. Findings from the current study suggest that online social interactions on Facebook are multi-faceted, with each facet uniquely associated with face-to-face peer relationships. Some of these facets may also represent social phenomena that only emerge in online environments. Psychopathology in emerging adulthood may also be associated with a greater degree of negativity in online social interactions. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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