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Beaudoin, C. (2008). Explaining the Relationship between Internet Use and Interpersonal Trust: Taking into Account Motivation and Information Overload. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13, 550–568

Although a growing body of empirical research has assessed the relationship between Internet use and social capital, little is known about what mechanisms underlie this relationship. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by articulating and testing a multi-step model specific to the development of interpersonal trust, a critical component of social capital. In considering the influence of Internet use on interpersonal trust, this model takes into account motivation and information overload. Structural equation modeling was used to test the model with data from the 2006 Gadgets Survey of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This analysis indicates that the effects of social resource motivation for Internet use on interpersonal trust were mediated by Internet use and perceived information overload. In addition, Internet use inversely influenced perceived information overload, Internet use influenced  interpersonal trust, and perceived information overload inversely influenced interpersonal trust. These findings are considered in reference to previous literature on Internet effects, uses and gratifications, information processing, and the cognitive mediation model.


Beaudoin, Christopher

Dr. Christopher E. Beaudoin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, a joint appointed faculty member in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health in the School of Rural Public Health, and the Director of Communication and Training Cores at the Center for Community Health...

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