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Steinfield, C., Ellison, N., Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 29 (6), 434-445

A longitudinal analysis of panel data from users of a popular online social network site, Facebook, investigated the relationship between intensity of Facebook use, measures of psychological well-being, and bridging social capital. Two surveys conducted a year apart at a large U.S. university, complemented with in-depth interviews with 18 Facebook users, provide the study data. Intensity of Facebook use in year one strongly predicted bridging social capital outcomes in year two, even after controlling for measures of self-esteem and satisfaction with life. These latter psychological variables were also strongly associated with social capital outcomes. Self-esteem served to moderate the relationship between Facebook usage intensity and bridging social capital: those with lower self-esteem gained more from their use of Facebook in terms of bridging social capital than higher self-esteem participants. We suggest that Facebook affordances help reduce barriers that lower self-esteem students might experience in forming the kinds of large, heterogeneous networks that are sources of bridging social capital.


Steinfield, Charles

Charles Steinfield is a professor and chairperson of the Department of Telecommmunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University. He holds a B.A. in Communication from Michigan State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication Theory and Research from the Annenberg...

Ellison, Nicole B.

I am an associate professor in the Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media department at Michigan State University. Currently I'm involved in several research projects. My Research page has links to most of my publications, so please check there for more information. My...

Lampe, Cliff

Cliff Lampe is Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University, Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.

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