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ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS,

       INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACTI...
2


ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS,

         INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACTI...
3


ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS,

          INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACT...
4


                               ACKNOWLEDGEMENT



       There are some special individuals and groups who have given ...
5


                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                   Page

Title Page ...
6


  Participants of the Study                               36

  Research Instrumentation                              ...
7


                                  LIST OF TABLES

Table                                                               ...
8


14. Measures of Association Between Loneliness,

      Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Age      ...
9


    Life Satisfaction as a Function of Number of Hours

    Spent for Social Networking Sites                         ...
10


                               LIST OF FIGURES



Figure                                           Page
1.   Conceptu...
11


                                      CHAPTER I

                                       Introduction



       We liv...
12


while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual,

religious, or nationality-based ident...
13


that enable computers to read our facial expressions and share those expressions with

others in whatever online envi...
14


who use it less (Pew Internet Report, 2000). According to Kraut and Kiesler (1999), it is

surely true that some peop...
15


takes the point of view of the New Economics Foundation (2006) which stated that

some researchers, notably those fro...
16


networker, the current researcher opted to explore the interplay among the three main

variables within the Thai cont...
17


perhaps, in some way, technology may be a pathway for lonely people to achieve some

level of social relationships th...
18


       3.    Are there significant differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation,

             and life satis...
19


online through social networking, and number of hours spent online for social

networking, at 0.05 level.

1Ha: There...
20




                                Significance of the Study

       This study would be beneficial for many individua...
21


Interpersonal Orientation


‘Interpersonal Orientation’ is an aspect of liking people and is conceived as a

personal...
22


Life Satisfaction


       ‘Life satisfaction,’ refers to “a global cognitive assessment of a person’s quality

of li...
23


                                  Conceptual Framework




                                          LONELINESS

    ...
24


                                       CHAPTER II

                                    Literature Review



       Th...
25


socially in terms of relational and collective connectedness (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona,

1980).

         As cited ...
26


years and can no longer be attributed to situation or environment; (2) situational

loneliness, which usually results...
27


serve as security providers and beneficiaries. In a nurturing relationship, the self is the

provider and the other i...
28


to examine mental representations of loneliness and social connectedness. The results of

Study 1 indicate that, for ...
29


about on ICQ. Borys and Perlman (1985) studied gender differences in loneliness, using

the UCLA scale. The results r...
30


without a partner in the same household as one's adult children yields country-specific

correlations that correspond...
31


both serve this need. Independence and detachment are prized. The goal is not to be

involved, influenced, obligated,...
32


behavior are also necessary in interpersonal relations. In one’s career, of utmost

importance are interpersonal skil...
33


others, probably are more likely to spend time interacting with others and to think about

their social interactions ...
34


interpersonally oriented individuals may sometimes draw on information about

themselves and about stereotypical othe...
35


                                     Life Satisfaction

“To be able to look upon one’s life with satisfaction is to l...
36


pursuit or achievement of personal needs and aspirations). With these distinctions in

mind, well-being can be evalua...
37


moods and emotions in reaction to their lives). Thus, a person is said to have high SWB

if she or he experiences lif...
38



       Other studies on life satisfaction and demographic variables.


       Gender. People may sometimes be satisf...
39


                                Online Social Networking

Online Social Networking: Historical Perspectives

        ...
40


dependent on users to keep them going. For example, The Well, which still exists, is

essentially an online set of fo...
41


differentiate themselves from each other. After joining a social network site, users are

prompted to identify others...
42


based social networking sites also support limited mobile interactions (e.g., Facebook,

MySpace, and Cyworld). Many ...
43


Online Social Networking: Theoretical Perspectives

       Social network theory.

       Social network theory is co...
44


(Granovetter, 1973). Overall, weak-tie relationships allow people to diversify their

networks or connections, thus p...
45


reported an increase in depressive symptoms. Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe (2007)

examined the relationship between us...
46


                                      CHAPTER III

                                 Research Methodology



       Th...
47


facilitated the distribution process in that respondents were asked to invite their online

friends, who met the incl...
48


Part II: Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS)


       The Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS) was developed and pub...
49


        Reliability: The RULS has excellent internal consistency, with an alpha of .94

(Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, ...
50


       Reliability: The reliability of the LPS was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha to

test internal consistency. Th...
51




                              Data Collection Procedure

   Data collection consisted of the following procedural s...
52


                                      Data Analysis

       After completion of the data collection process, the resp...
53


                                     CHAPTER IV

                           Presentation and Analysis of Data



    ...
54


Reliability of Data Collection Tools

        Several instruments were utilized in this study, namely, Revised UCLA

...
55


Demographic Profiles of Participants



Table 1

Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Gender

  Gender        Fre...
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A study of online social networkers, their loneliness, interpersonal orientation and satisfaction with life

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  1. 1. 1 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS, INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACTION NAPAPAT LUEDEESUNUN A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY Graduate School of Psychology ASSUMPTION UNIVERSITY Thailand 2008
  2. 2. 2 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS, INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACTION Napapat Luedeesunun This study aimed to examine the interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among Thai online social networkers. 115 Pages November 2008 APPROVED: ____________________________ Vorapot Ruckthum, Ph.D. Chairman ___________________________ CHE Representative ____________________________ Maria Bella Bamforth, Ph.D. Advisor ____________________________ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ph.D. Member ____________________________ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ph.D. Member
  3. 3. 3 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKERS: AN EXPLORATION OF THEIR LONELINESS, INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION, AND LIFE SATISFACTION Napapat Luedeesunun ABSTRACT The current study aimed to examine the interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among Thai online social networkers. It also attempted to investigate differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of demographic variables. This study utilized a causal- comparative and correlational research design. A total of 306 Thai online social networkers participated by completing a self-administered online survey questionnaire in either English or Thai. The major instruments used were: the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS), the Liking People Scale (LPS), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). The study employed both descriptive and inferential statistical tools to analyze the data. The major findings of the study showed that there is a significant difference in: a) life satisfaction as a function of gender, with females showing a higher level of life satisfaction; b) life satisfaction as a function of age; c) interpersonal orientation as a function of age; d) loneliness as a function of marital status; e) interpersonal orientation as a function of number of friends online through social networking sites; and f) interpersonal orientation as a function of number of hours spent online for social networking sites. Furthermore, the results indicated that there is a significant inverse relationship between loneliness and interpersonal orientation; there is a significant inverse relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction; and there is a significant positive relationship between life satisfaction and interpersonal orientation.
  4. 4. 4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT There are some special individuals and groups who have given me, in one way or another, their unconditional support and guidance throughout this research. First of all, I would like to wholeheartedly thank my advisor and editor, Dr. Maria Bella Bamforth, for her mentoring, patience, encouragement, and valuable insights on my thesis over the year. Dr. Maria, you always made time to help me no matter how busy you were. I truly appreciate it! Likewise, I thank Dr. Edward Roy Krishnan, my statistical consultant. Dr. Edward, thank you for your support with this research as well and for your statistical expertise. I would not have made it without your help. I really appreciate all that you have done. I am grateful to the Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology, Dr. Vorapot Ruckthum, for his encouragement and support on the thesis process. I feel obliged to MSCP friends who stood by me and encouraged me all the way, with their thoughtfulness and fruitful ideas. I especially thank my close friends for their time and delightful company. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my supervisor and colleagues at CentralWorld and Y&R who understood and supported me on this thesis, for their assistance in questionnaire distribution and collection as well as for helping me realize that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. To all my respondents: a big “thank you” for participating and for teaching me. And, most importantly, I am grateful to my family for all their belief in my potential and for their endless support and encouragement. N. L.
  5. 5. 5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Title Page i Approval Page ii Abstract iii Acknowledgement iv Table of Contents v List of Tables vii List of Figures ix Chapters I. INTRODUCTION 1 Background of the Study 6 Statement of the Problem 7 Purpose of the Study 8 Research Hypotheses 8 Significance of the Study 10 Definition of Terms 10 Conceptual Framework 13 II. LITERATURE REVIEW 14 Loneliness 14 Interpersonal Orientation 20 Satisfaction with Life 25 Online Social Networkers 29 III. METHODOLOGY 36 Research Design 36
  6. 6. 6 Participants of the Study 36 Research Instrumentation 37 Data Collection Procedure 41 Data Analysis 42 IV. PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 43 Descriptive Statistics 44 Inferential Statistics 49 Summary of Findings 74 V. DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATION 77 Overview of the Study 77 Discussion of Findings 78 Limitation of the Study 86 Conclusion 87 Recommendation 88 REFERENCES 91 APPENDICES Appendix A: Research Instrument (English Version) 99 Appendix B: Research Instrument (Thai Version) 104 Appendix C: Current Online Social Network Population 109
  7. 7. 7 LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Gender 45 2. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Age 45 3. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Marital Status 46 4. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Number of Friends Online Through Social Networking Sites 46 5. Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Number of Hours Spent for Social Networking Sites 47 6. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction 48 7. Description of Variables 49 8. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Gender 50 9. ANOVA for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Gender 51 10. Measures of Association Between Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Gender 52 11. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Age 53 12. ANOVA for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Age 54 13. Post Hoc Multiple Comparisons for Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Age 55
  8. 8. 8 14. Measures of Association Between Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Age 56 15. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Marital Status 57 16. ANOVA for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Marital Status 58 17. Post Hoc Multiple Comparisons for Loneliness as a Function of Marital Status 59 18. Measures of Association Between Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Marital Status 60 19. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Number of Friends Online Through Social Networking Sites 60 20. ANOVA for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Number of Friends Online Through Social Networking Sites 62 21. Post Hoc Multiple Comparisons for Interpersonal Orientation as a Function of Number of Friends Online Through Social Networking Sites 63 22. Measures of Association Between Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Number of Friends Through Online Social Networking Sites 65 23. Mean Values for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation and Life Satisfaction as a Function of Number of Hours Spent for Online Social Networking Sites 66 24. ANOVA for Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and
  9. 9. 9 Life Satisfaction as a Function of Number of Hours Spent for Social Networking Sites 67 25. Post Hoc Multiple Comparisons for Interpersonal Orientation as a Function of Number of Hours Spent for Social Networking Sites 68 26. Measures of Association Between Loneliness, Interpersonal Orientation, and Life Satisfaction with Number of Hours Spent for Social Networking Sites 69 27. Measure of Correlation Between Loneliness and Interpersonal Orientation 70 28. Measure of Correlation Between Interpersonal Orientation and Life Satisfaction 71 29. Measure of Correlation Between Life Satisfaction and Interpersonal Orientation 72
  10. 10. 10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 1. Conceptual Framework of the Study 13
  11. 11. 11 CHAPTER I Introduction We live in an increasingly connected world. Or at least we live in a world where it is now easier to connect with other people using a variety of Web-based tools, commonly referred to as online social networking (Lamb, 2006). As the Internet became a more robust technological platform, the ability of users to contribute and form communities of interest became easier and, in addition to business networks of innovation, social networks and communities which had always existed in the physical world began to emerge on this platform. These early networks, which were not tied to a particular place or even time zone, consisted of a variety of individuals who might be scattered geographically but who used the Internet as a conduit for discussion of common interests and ideas (Hafner, 1997). Howard Rheingold, who pioneered such online communities, defined them as “cultural aggregations that emerge when enough people bump into each other often enough in cyberspaces” (Preece, 2000). Social networking is one of the newest forms of computer mediated communication or CMC. This form of communication relies on technology such as email and instant messaging. These technologies function as substitutes or supplements for face-to-face interactions with the purpose of making processes of communication more mobile and convenient (Nyland, 2007). As of this writing, there are hundreds of social networking sites with various technological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices. While their key technological features are fairly consistent, the cultures that emerge around social networking sites are varied. Most sites support the maintenance of pre-existing social networks, but others help strangers connect based on shared interests, political views, or activities. Some sites cater to diverse audiences,
  12. 12. 12 while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality-based identities. Sites also vary in the extent to which they incorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity, blogging, and photo/video-sharing (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). How big is the phenomenon called social networking? According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project (2007), over 100 million users are registered to be a member of at least one social networking site. Two out of every 3 people online in the United States now visit social networking sites everyday. If online social relationship dominates Internet use for a majority of its users, there is a good reason to expect that this relationship will have positive social impact. Communication, including contact with neighbors, friends and family, and participation in social groups improve people’s level of social support, their probability of having fulfilling personal relationships, their sense of meaning in life, their self-esteem, their commitment to social norms and to their communities, and their psychological and physical well-being (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). According to Rosen (2007), although social networking sites are in their infancy, we are seeing their impact culturally; that we are only beginning to come to grips with the consequences of our use of these sites. It is worth pausing for a moment to reflect on the curious use of the word networking to describe this new form of human interaction. Social networking sites “connect” users with a network–literally, a computer network. But the verb to network has long been used to describe an act of intentional social connecting, especially for professionals seeking career boosting contacts. In the near future, our online interactions will begin to more closely mimic offline interactions. Technologists are currently experimenting with mood-sensing tools
  13. 13. 13 that enable computers to read our facial expressions and share those expressions with others in whatever online environment we inhabit at the moment. While our virtual identity may be shielded, our emotional state may soon be available for all to see and feel–online. Despite the ability to connect with millions of strangers worldwide in new and interesting ways, online networking has not significantly improved the connections with people directly around us–our family, friends, and local communities. In some cases, it has had the opposite effect of trading close connections for distant and virtual ones (Lamb, 2006). While social networking sites are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites to segregate themselves by nationality, age, or other factors that typically segment society, even if that was not the intention of the designers. Many social networking sites target people from specific geographical regions or linguistic groups, although this does not always determine the site's constituency (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). This global phenomenon is not only affecting the way people formed their relationship elsewhere; it is affecting people in Thailand as well. Surprisingly, not only teens are the active member of these sites but adults from early jobbers to late adults. As cited in Kraut et al. (2001), research has not yet led to consensus on either the nature of social interaction online or its effects on social involvement and personal well-being. Some survey research indicates that online social relationships are weaker than off-line relationships (Parks & Roberts, 1998), and that people who use the Internet heavily report spending less time communicating with their families (Cole, 2000). In contrast, other survey research shows that people who use the Internet heavily report more social support and more in-person visits with family and friends than those
  14. 14. 14 who use it less (Pew Internet Report, 2000). According to Kraut and Kiesler (1999), it is surely true that some people create meaningful and fulfilling relationships online both through electronic groups and though individual connections. Yet some findings have shown that people typically feel less close to online communication partners than to those with whom they have formed real-world relationships. Nyland (2007) stated that heavy users of social networking sites feel less socially involved with the community around them and, as individuals use social networking more for entertainment, their level of social involvement decreases. Loneliness is a common and often debilitating problem for individuals in contemporary society (McWhirter, 1990; Peplau & Perlman, 1982) and its consequences are detrimental to one’s emotional, physical, and psychological health (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1998). Even with advances in technology designed to facilitate communication between people, loneliness may be on the rise (Jackson, Soderlind, & Weiss, 2000). Seligman (1983) described loneliness as one of the most poorly understood of all psychological phenomena and that measures of loneliness have been shown to correlate negatively with satisfaction with life. Painful feelings are a fact of life for lonely people. Three factors that figure prominently in chronic loneliness are shyness, poor social skills, and a self-defeating attributional style. The link between these factors and loneliness could go either way. Feeling lonely might cause a negative attribution about others, but making negative attributions can also lead to loneliness. Rubenstein and Shaver (1982) found that lonely people spend time in solitary activities rather than engage with activity with others. Recent research has demonstrated that socializing and expending resources to maintain and enhance social relationships are important components to well-being or life satisfaction enhancement. It is important to note here that the current researcher
  15. 15. 15 takes the point of view of the New Economics Foundation (2006) which stated that some researchers, notably those from an economics background, tend to see happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being as synonymous and interchangeable. Argyle (2001) posited that social relationships have a powerful effect on happiness and other aspects of life satisfaction and are perhaps its greatest single cause. According to Filsinger (1981), the developer of the Liking People Scale that measures interpersonal orientation, this psychological phenomenon plays a significant role in one’s social development and adjustment. Interpersonal orientation can be seen from many aspects, the general liking of other people is one aspect of person-to-person orientation. The theoretical point is that the degree of liking people will influence whether one approaches or avoids social interaction. The study of Internet use has been a focal point in many recent social science studies due to its huge impact worldwide. Yet the implications of psychological aspects associated with Internet use cry out for further consideration. In this regard, the present researcher will focus her study on the following selected psychological phenomena: loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction. There are opportunity costs when we spend so much time carefully nurturing relationships online. Given how much time we already devote to entertaining ourselves with technology, it is at least worth asking if the time we spend on social networking sites is well spent. Would investing so much energy into online relationships help the feeling we face offline? In the light of the given general assertions about existing online social networking sites, the present researcher attempted to examine the interrelationships among the phenomena of loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and satisfaction with life among social online networkers. As she herself is a Thai as well as an online social
  16. 16. 16 networker, the current researcher opted to explore the interplay among the three main variables within the Thai context. Background of the Study Having been a member of one of the more popular social networking sites for some time now, the present researcher has observed that many people are giving up real life relationships for online relationships–that friendships nurtured online replace real friends and that many online social networkers have become accustomed to relationships that exist in the virtual world. This researcher posits that the Internet is one of the tools people of this day and age use to kill time, especially in times of loneliness. This position is partly supported by Russell, Peplau, and Ferguson (1978) who asserted that lonely people often indicate that their relationships are superficial and that no one understands them well. The feeling of loneliness is the feeling of not being known and understood. People who are unwilling to reveal themselves face-to-face and who receive little personal information from others may find their relationship less satisfying and so may be more prone to loneliness. In a similar vein, Sermat (1980) suggested that one of the contributing factors to loneliness is the individual’s unwillingness to enter into interpersonal situations that involve the risk of being rejected, embarrassed, or disappointed. Lonely people may be less willing or less able to take the face-to-face social risks that might lead to alleviation of the lonely feelings. Today, the internet, a new technological development has the potential to allow people to enter into mediated interpersonal relationships without taking face-to-face social risks. In agreement with Argyle (2001), the researcher is of the opinion that social relationships have a powerful effect on happiness and other aspects of well-being, and
  17. 17. 17 perhaps, in some way, technology may be a pathway for lonely people to achieve some level of social relationships that may lead to the enhancement of life satisfaction. It was in this context that the researcher attempted to explore the psychological constructs of loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among Thai online social networkers. Statement of the Problem An extensive review of literature on the variables loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction failed to provide a clear link between these three phenomena combined, much less within the framework of online social networking. As mentioned earlier, online social networking is in its ‘infancy’ stage (Rosen, 2007); this implies that there may not be that many empirical studies done within the field of psychological science that would substantiate the effects of networking on the cognitive and social aspects of the person. Even rarer would be studies conducted in Thailand that specifically attempt to examine the three phenomena together. In the light of this knowledge gap, the researcher deemed it necessary to conduct this exploratory study to contribute towards the literature. In order to better understand the dynamics between the three main variables among Thai online social networkers, the following research questions were posed: 1. What is the profile of Thai online social networkers in terms of the following demographic characteristics: gender, age, marital status, number of friends online, and number of hours spent online? 2. Are there basic differences between members of online social networking sites and non-members in terms of loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction?
  18. 18. 18 3. Are there significant differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of selected personal characteristics among members and non-members of online social networking sites? 4. Are there significant interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among members and non-members of online social networking sites? Purpose of the Study In view of the given knowledge gaps, this exploratory study was conducted mainly in an attempt to empirically analyze the interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among Thai online social networkers. The current research also investigated possible differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of these networkers’ demographic characteristics, namely: gender, age, marital status, number of friends online, and number of hours spent online. Finally, to broaden the parameters of this study in terms of the target group of online social networkers, two groups were compared in the process–members of online social networking sites and non-members. Research Hypotheses In the light of the research questions and purposes of the study, four research hypotheses were generated for testing. This study’s hypotheses are hereby presented in their null and alternative forms, as follows: 1Ho: There is no significant difference in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of gender, age, marital status, number of friends
  19. 19. 19 online through social networking, and number of hours spent online for social networking, at 0.05 level. 1Ha: There is a significant difference in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of gender, age, marital status, number of friends online through social networking, and number of hours spent online for social networking, at 0.05 level. 2Ho: There is no significant relationship between loneliness and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level. 2Ha: There is a significant relationship between loneliness and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level. 3Ho: There is no significant relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level. 3Ha: There is a significant relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level. 4Ho: There is no significant relationship between life satisfaction and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level. 4Ha: There is a significant relationship between life satisfaction and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites, at .05 level.
  20. 20. 20 Significance of the Study This study would be beneficial for many individuals and groups in this modern society. Firstly, through this study, web developers and providers would become more aware of and sensitive to the psychological aspects of their users, and would become more knowledgeable about how to further improve their services for a better society. Secondly, online social networkers themselves would have a better understanding of how online social networking sites can contribute towards a better way of life through reduced feelings of loneliness as well as through greater interpersonal orientation and life satisfaction. Thirdly, this study would be a valuable resource for helping professionals such as counselors, psychologists, social workers, and teachers; the study’s findings would give them a greater understanding of how computer-mediated social relationships impact people in this age of advanced communication and information technology. Finally, this study could contribute to related foreign and local literature by adding the perspective of online social networking to the evolving body of research on loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction, independently or in aggregate. Although the findings of the study will apply only to the actual participants, the findings may still be used as reference material and database for other researchers who are interested in the same or similar variables and study group or who wish to explore other directions within the same framework. Definition of Terms In this section, key terms in the study that require clarification are defined in the operational sense.
  21. 21. 21 Interpersonal Orientation ‘Interpersonal Orientation’ is an aspect of liking people and is conceived as a personality construct which serves a mediational function in social interaction, as defined by Filsinger (1981), the designer of the Liking People Scale (LPS), the instrument employed in the current study to measure the phenomenon. People low on the liking people scale spend less time with others, are more socially anxious, tend to be introverted, and are less adept at judging the characteristics of other people. This personality measure differentiates individuals who have high versus low level of liking people (Fischer & Corcoran, 2007). Loneliness ‘Loneliness’ is “the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person’s network of social relationships is deficient in some important way, either qualitatively or quantitatively,” (p.31), as defined by the designers (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980) of the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale or RULS that was employed in the current study. Online Social Networkers ‘Online Social Networkers’ refers to communities in which large groups of Internet users with common interests or activities communicate and share resources with one another (Preece, 2000).
  22. 22. 22 Life Satisfaction ‘Life satisfaction,’ refers to “a global cognitive assessment of a person’s quality of life according to his chosen criteria,” as defined by Ed Diener and colleagues (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985, p.71), the designers of the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) used in this study. Judgments on satisfaction are dependent upon a comparison of one’s circumstances with what is thought to be an appropriate standard, It is important to point out that the judgment of how satisfied people are with their present state of affairs is based on a comparison with a standard which each individual sets for him or herself; it is not externally imposed (Diener, 1984). Social Networking Sites ‘Social networking sites’ refers to any web-based services that allow individuals to: (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system; (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection; and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site (Boyd, 2007). Examples of social networking sites include Hi5, MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook.
  23. 23. 23 Conceptual Framework LONELINESS (Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale - RULS) MEMBER AND NON MEMBER OF ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES Demographic Variables Age, Gender, Marital Status Number of friends online Number of hours spent online LIFE SATISFACTION INTERPERSONAL ORIENTATION (Satisfaction with Life Scale - (Liking People Scale – LPS) SWLS) Figure 1. Conceptual framework of the study. The current study attempts to empirically analyze the interrelationship between loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among both member and non member of online social networking sites. This study also attempts to investigate significant differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among the target participants as a function of the following demographic variables: gender, age, marital status, number of friends online, and number of hours spent online.
  24. 24. 24 CHAPTER II Literature Review This chapter presents the theoretical framework and supporting literature for this study. This chapter is divided into four major sections. To introduce a coherent review of related literature, the topics will be sequentially presented as follows: a) Loneliness: Theoretical Perspectives and Related Studies; b) Interpersonal Orientation: Theoretical Perspectives and Related Studies; c) Life Satisfaction: Theoretical Perspectives and Related Studies; and d) Online Social Networking: General Perspectives and Related Studies. Loneliness “We live in a society in which isolation is commonplace. In the impersonal climate of industrial society, even more people obviously suffer from a sense of loneliness—the loneliness of the lonely crowd. Understandably, the intense wish emerges to compensate for this lack of warmth with closeness. People cry for intimacy. —The Unheard Cry for Meaning, Viktor Frankl Loneliness: Theoretical Perspectives Humans are social animals. In fact, our desire for social connections seems so strong that some authors have suggested that humans have a basic need to belong. Social relationships subtly embrace us in the warmth of self affirmation, the whispers of encouragement, and the meaningfulness of belonging. They are fundamental to our emotional fulfillment, behavioral adjustment, and cognitive function. Disruption or absence of stable social relationships blasts our minds and biology like few other events (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). When one’s intimate and social needs are not adequately met, a complex set of feelings termed loneliness occurs that motivates one to seek the fulfillment of these needs (Weiss, 1973). The core experience is one of being isolated
  25. 25. 25 socially in terms of relational and collective connectedness (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980). As cited in Huges, Waite, Hawkley and Cacioppo (2004), there is now substantial evidence that loneliness is a core part of a constellation of socio-emotional states including self-esteem, mood, anxiety, anger, optimism, fear of negative evaluation, shyness, social skills, social support, dysphoria, and sociability (Berscheid & Reis, 1998). Feelings of loneliness are not synonymous with being alone but instead, involve perception of isolation, feelings of disconnectedness, and feelings of not belonging. These feelings, in turn, are thought to reflect the discrepancy between one’s desired and one’s actual relationships (Peplau & Perlman, 1982). It has also been defined as an unpleasant experience that derives from important deficiencies in the lonely person’s network of social relationships. According to Russell et al. (1980), the designers of the instrument employed to measure loneliness in the current study, “social relationships are at the core of human life” (p.472). These authors claimed that most research tends to focus on the problems that involve too many people and neglect the problems involving ‘too few’ people that ultimately leave people feeling ‘lonely,’ thus highlighting the lack of empirical data available. As cited in Neto and Barros (2003), the issue of whether men or women are more vulnerable to loneliness has not been resolved (Pinquart & Sorensen, 2001). On the one hand, Russell, Peplau, and Cutrona (1980, p.474) claimed that “research has not indicated any sex difference in loneliness.” On the other hand, Weiss (1973) presented survey evidence showing that women are more apt to be lonely than men. The following section presents a typological characterization of loneliness. Beck and Young (1978) have distinguished three types of loneliness in terms of its duration: (1) chronic loneliness, which evolves from social deficits continuing over a period of
  26. 26. 26 years and can no longer be attributed to situation or environment; (2) situational loneliness, which usually results at the termination of a relationship; and (3) transient loneliness, which refers to the short duration of loneliness that most people experience periodically as a result of brief periods of minor social deficiency (Murphy & Kupshik, 1992). One theoretical distinction between situational and chronic loneliness is that situationally lonely persons are likely to actively adjust to the environment (e.g., participating in religious groups, going to social events), whereas chronically lonely persons are likely to devalue social activities. Weiss (1973), however, looked at loneliness in terms of the type of relationship deficit involved. Weiss asserted that there are two types of loneliness: social loneliness– that which arises when a person has few contacts socially and when there is a lack of friendships or acquaintances; and emotional loneliness–the result of a lack of intimacy within personal relationships. In a later discourse, Weiss (1974) elaborated on his idea of two types of loneliness. His theory suggests loneliness arises from relational deficits; this implies that relationships make certain provisions. Because the two types of loneliness cannot adequately compensate for each other, that further implies that relationships provide two distinct benefits. The first provision of social relationships is security, which is further divided into three relational provisions: attachment, nurturance, and guidance. The attachment provision is typically found in a romantic relationship or a very close friendship. The nurturance provision is characteristic of when an adult takes responsibility for the needs of a child, resulting in a sense of being needed. Finally, obtaining guidance from a trusted or authoritative figure is an issue of security and is reminiscent of the parent-child relationship. While security is what these three provisions have in common, what differentiates them is the recipient and beneficiary (Weiss, 1998). In the pair bond relationship, the self and the other both
  27. 27. 27 serve as security providers and beneficiaries. In a nurturing relationship, the self is the provider and the other is the beneficiary. In the guidance relationship, the roles are reversed, with the self as the beneficiary and the other as the provider. The second general provision of social relationships is affiliation, and its absence produces social loneliness. Weiss's (1974) taxonomy divides common interest into three types of relational provisions: social integration, reassurance of worth, and a sense of reliable alliance. Social integration is based in a common-concern network where individuals may share information and experiences and may exchange services. Reassurance of worth focuses on the individual's competence in a social role and is a characteristic of work relationships. Finally, the sense of reliable alliance, most often provided by kin, combats feelings of vulnerability, and abandonment. Weiss points out that these provisions may have varying priorities across individuals and situations. He further argues that the absence of each provision results in unique cognitive and affective responses. For the security category, its absence produces emotional loneliness, particularly if the attachment provision is unmet. Within this category, the lack of opportunities for nurturance produces feelings of existential meaninglessness, and the lack of guidance produces feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. For the affiliation category, its absence results in social loneliness, particularly in the absence of integration into a social network. Within this category, the lack of self-worth produces low self-esteem, and the lack of reliable alliance produces feelings of vulnerability. Loneliness: Related Studies This segment cites a few studies that focused on loneliness, using the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (used in the present study), although differing in their purposes. For example, Hawkley, Browne, and Cacioppo (2004) conducted two studies
  28. 28. 28 to examine mental representations of loneliness and social connectedness. The results of Study 1 indicate that, for young adults, mental representations of loneliness- connectedness appear to originate from three highly related but distinct aspects of the social domain. Moreover, these aspects: isolation, relational connectedness, and collective connectedness are compatible with individual, relational, and collective aspects of the self. Analyses of data provided by older adults were remarkably consistent in revealing three distinct dimensions of conceptual space representing satisfaction with social connectedness. The discovery of the same conceptual representation of loneliness–connectedness in young and older adults and across gender and ethnicity lends generalizability to these results. Nurmi, Toivonen, Salmela-Aro, and Eronen (1997) investigated loneliness to the extent of its association with the cognitive and attributional strategies people apply in social situations. Two studies were carried out among Finnish students to examine this association. In both studies, a pessimistic avoidance strategy was associated with subsequent feelings of loneliness, even after controls for the level of self-esteem. Both an optimistic planning strategy and a self- serving attributional bias were negatively associated with feelings of loneliness among men but not among women. Leung (2002) investigated the relationships between self- disclosure in ICQ (“I seek you”) chat, level of loneliness, and ICQ usage. The results indicate that loneliness is not related to level of ICQ use, but inversely related to valence, accuracy, and the amount dimensions of self disclosure in ICQ chat, and that ICQ usage is significantly related to control of depth and intent of disclosure. Specifically, it was found that the lonelier the student, the more dishonest, more negative, and the less revealing was the quality of the self-disclosure in their ICQ interaction. Conversely, appropriate, honest, positive, and accurate self-disclosure might lead to decreased loneliness when one feels understood, accepted, and cared
  29. 29. 29 about on ICQ. Borys and Perlman (1985) studied gender differences in loneliness, using the UCLA scale. The results revealed a clear pattern: statistically significant sex differences are not usually found with the scale but, when they are found, males typically have higher loneliness scores. In terms of self-labeling, women more frequently than men admit being lonely. Sex role factors may help explain these seemingly contradictory results. Of the various possible explanations of the gender differences in self-labeled loneliness, most assume that social influence processes play a crucial role. To test this viewpoint, an experiment was conducted. Subjects were presented with a case history of a lonely person, which varied only the target person's sex. The subjects were more rejecting of a lonely male than of a lonely female. These results support the view that women are more apt to acknowledge their loneliness than men. A study quite different in context from the foregoing studies but in closer proximity with the current research is that by Shaw and Gant (2002) which tested the hypothesis that Internet usage can affect users beneficially. Internet use was found to decrease loneliness and depression significantly, while perceived social support and self-esteem increased significantly. A culture-specific study using loneliness as the dependent variable is cited here on account of its implications on certain determinants of loneliness. Gierveld and Tilburg (1999) investigated the effects of differences between the Netherlands and Italy in the aspect of living arrangements of older adults with and without partners. The consequences of living alone and of co-residence with adult children have been further investigated, using loneliness as the dependent variable. Controlled for age, health, sex, size and support of the network, and for differences in socio-economic resources, household composition is still the most important determinant of loneliness. Living
  30. 30. 30 without a partner in the same household as one's adult children yields country-specific correlations that correspond with differences in value orientations: less loneliness in Italy, more loneliness in the Netherlands. Interpersonal Orientation "The reciprocal nature of social contacts is apparent: anyone who makes no social contacts soon finds himself isolated. Society makes the same mistakes toward the isolated individual as he makes toward society. If you approach people coldly they will be hard and cold with you.” "Individual Psychology," by Erwin Weber Interpersonal Orientation: Theoretical Perspectives Interpersonal orientation plays a significant role in one’s social development and adjustment. Interpersonal orientations are ways in which individuals are usually oriented towards other people as they attempt to interact or respond. When one person responds in a specific way to another person, this manner of response might be termed interpersonal orientations (Horney, 1948). Baumeister and Leary (1995) refer the word ‘interpersonal’ to anything relating to the interactions between and among people. The classifications of interpersonal orientation patterns were developed by Horney (1948). She identified three general tendencies: moving toward others; moving against others; and moving away from others. Moving toward others indicates a need for affection or approval–need for partners, friends, and lovers. This interpersonal orientation provides responses ranging from mild support to close affiliation, trust, or love. Moving against others indicates a view of the world as an arena where the strong overcome the weak and only the fittest survive. Such an orientation indicates a need to excel, achieve, and attain prestige and recognition. Moving away from others indicates a need to avoid becoming attached to anybody or anything; self-sufficiency and privacy
  31. 31. 31 both serve this need. Independence and detachment are prized. The goal is not to be involved, influenced, obligated, or challenged. Persons exhibiting this orientation may conform outwardly in order to avoid friction of obligation inwardly. However, they reject rules and standards presented by other people. Most of us display more than one of these interpersonal orientation patterns at different times toward various people. The primary dimension of interpersonal orientations. Interpersonal orientations have three primary dimensions, according to Griffin and Patton (1976): the degree of involvement, the emotional tone or feeling involved, and the amount of interpersonal control. The involvement relates not only to the amount of interaction between the participants but also to the importance of the interaction to each of the participants. It indicates the extent to which relationship actually exists. In the case of two friends working together and talking with each other everyday, there may be a little interpersonal involvement and not much of a relationship when compared with a relationship of a father and a daughter who lived in different towns. We need human contact in both personal and professional areas in our daily lives; being able to be in contact and get along with others are important to make life flow smoothly. With well-adjusted human beings, there is a need and desire for positive relationships. Hanna (1999) said that the social self cannot develop without interaction. To live in the world is to relate to others. Without self-knowledge, self-love, and positive communication skills, the individual will encounter difficulties and disappointments in interpersonal orientation and relations. Hanna also suggests that in order for a relationship to begin, someone has to act. Initiating interactions is a valuable interpersonal skill. Personality plays an important role in this stage. If you have an extraverted personality, you are motivated to reach out to a new person. Attitudes and
  32. 32. 32 behavior are also necessary in interpersonal relations. In one’s career, of utmost importance are interpersonal skills, no matter what job one is working for especially if the work concerns with helping, giving service, or needs high understanding such as doctors, nurses, etcetera. Effective interpersonal orientations are very important in performing such jobs. Besides affective interpersonal skills, effective communication is also highly desired in helping one’s professional career. Interpersonal relationships are essential for our personal well-being in many ways. It is a must to grow and develop cognitively and socially, build a positive and coherent personal identity, and feel that we are firmly in touch with reality. To Vogt and Colvin (2003), some people are more highly motivated to develop and maintain positive interpersonal relationships than others. The psychological construct that underlies this individual difference has a long tradition within the field of psychology and can be traced back to Bakan’s (1966) writings on communion, which he viewed as a fundamental quality of human beings. According to Bakan, communion is characterized by the need to become one with a group of others. Personal feelings of pleasure and pain often mirror the circumstances of close others. Communal individuals are interpersonally oriented and, perhaps while experiencing a cost to their own emotional well-being, will frequently provide support to friends and loved ones. Given that Bakan viewed communion as a lens through which people perceive and act upon their world, interpersonal orientation is best viewed as one facet of communion that emphasizes the desire and need to have close interpersonal relationships. One way that interpersonally-oriented individuals might foster positive relationships is through their attunement to and interest in understanding others. It implies that some individuals are highly motivated to seek out, maintain, and foster close interpersonal relationships. These individuals who, in large part, define themselves by their connectedness with
  33. 33. 33 others, probably are more likely to spend time interacting with others and to think about their social interactions than individuals who are less communal (Bakan, 1966). According to Filsinger (1981) (the designer of the scale employed to measure interpersonal orientation in the current study), liking people is an aspect of interpersonal orientation and is conceived as a personality construct which serves a mediational function in social interaction. People low on liking people spend less time with others, are more socially anxious, tend to be introverted, and are less adept at judging the characteristics of other people. A history of contact between people would determine a large part of the nature of their interaction; the underlying assumption herein is that part of the reason an individual tends to approach or to avoid people is the degree to which he or she likes people. Individuals who like people would be expected to put time and energy into social interaction, whereas those who do not like people would put their energies into nonsocial pursuits. This particular aspect is a very specific, one- dimensional domain of interpersonal orientation rather than other measurements of interpersonal orientations. Interpersonal orientation: Related Studies Vogt and Colvin (2003) investigated if individuals who are more invested in developing and maintaining interpersonal relations are able to provide more accurate judgments of others’ personality characteristics. Results revealed that psychological communion was positively associated with judges’ accuracy in rating targets’ personality characteristics. In addition, whereas women were more communal and provided more accurate judgments than men, the relationship between communion and accuracy held after controlling for the effect of gender. Finally, findings suggested that
  34. 34. 34 interpersonally oriented individuals may sometimes draw on information about themselves and about stereotypical others to facilitate accurate judgments of others. Filsinger (1981) conducted three studies during the development of the Liking People Scale. The first study was administered to undergraduates at a large Eastern university. There were no sex differences found in this study. The Pearson product moment correlation between ‘liking people’ and ‘alone behavior’ was significant. The reported number of close friends and social anxiety were also significantly related to ‘liking people.’ The second study was carried out at a large Western state university. Sex differences were found with females scoring significantly higher. Liking people was reported as significantly related to ‘need for affiliation,’ ‘affiliative tendency, ‘introversion/extroversion,’ but negatively related to ‘need for autonomy.’ The third study was performed on a sample of adults from a large Western metropolitan area. There were no sex differences found, which left the existence of population-based sex differences in doubt. ‘Liking people’ was significantly related to ‘social self-esteem’ and to ‘judgmental ability,’ but was not related to ‘interpersonal effectiveness.’ These findings indicated that individuals who like people tend to have self confidence in social situations and tend to feel that they have the ability to read the feelings of and moods of others. On the other hand, individuals who like people are not necessarily sure of their ability to get people to do things they wish them to do.
  35. 35. 35 Life Satisfaction “To be able to look upon one’s life with satisfaction is to live twice.” – Anonymous Life Satisfaction: Theoretical Perspectives Life satisfaction, the cognitive aspect of well-being, is the global evaluation by a person of his or her life (Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996). Life satisfaction is a positive feeling of one’s self that can fluctuate over time. It reflects the personal judgment of the individual in relation to aging and the perception of life satisfaction made manifest through feelings of happiness, well-being, and a successful life. These feelings were often used interchangeably with life satisfaction, according to Miller (1995). Life satisfaction is an important component for quality of life (Haas, 1999). Life satisfaction is the ultimate goal that human beings are striving to achieve their entire lives. To precisely define life satisfaction is a very difficult task because there is no universally acceptable definition, as this perception varies from person to person and culture to culture. It appears that the literature concerning life satisfaction and well- being, although without conclusion, is primarily concerned with how and why people experience their lives in positive ways. Life satisfaction, happiness, well-being, and quality of life have been used interchangeably. Previous research efforts have identified three components of subjective wellbeing: positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985; Emmons & Diener, 1985). Positive and negative affects are components based on emotions (i.e., how a person usually feels) whereas life satisfaction is a component based on cognitive judgments (how a person perceives the
  36. 36. 36 pursuit or achievement of personal needs and aspirations). With these distinctions in mind, well-being can be evaluated by asking individuals about their life in general, or by asking them about their satisfaction with particular aspects such as their family or job. From a general perspective, subjective well-being has often been shown to correlate with variables such as education and age (Diener, Suh, & Oishi, 1997). Evidence suggests that life satisfaction as a part of subjective well-being is likely to reflect the fulfillment of personal values and goals, and is involved in the search for meaningfulness in one’s life (Diener et al., 1997). Accordingly, Emmons (1986) demonstrated a positive relationship between a person’s life satisfaction and the importance and successful pursuit of personal strivings. Subjective well-being and life satisfaction. According to Diener, Suh, and Oishi (1997), subjective well-being is a field of psychology that attempts to understand people's evaluations of their lives. These evaluations may be primarily cognitive (e.g., life satisfaction) or may consist of the frequency with which people experience pleasant emotions (e.g., joy) and unpleasant emotions (e.g., depression). Subjective well-being (SWB) refers to how people evaluate their lives and includes variables such as life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, lack of depression and anxiety, and positive moods and emotions. The idea of SWB or happiness has intrigued thinkers for millennia, although it is only in recent years that it has been measured and studied in a systematic way. A person's evaluation of his or her life may be in the form of cognitions (e.g., when a person gives conscious evaluative judgments about his or her satisfaction with life as a whole, or evaluative judgments about specific aspects of his or life such as recreation). However, an evaluation of one's life also may be in the form of affect (people experiencing unpleasant or pleasant
  37. 37. 37 moods and emotions in reaction to their lives). Thus, a person is said to have high SWB if she or he experiences life satisfaction and frequent joy, and only infrequently experience unpleasant emotions such as sadness and anger. Contrariwise, a person is said to have low SWB if he or she is dissatisfied with life, experiences little joy and affection, and frequently feels negative emotions such as anger or anxiety. Life Satisfaction: Related Studies In this segment, two studies are cited because of their emphasis on the variable ‘life satisfaction.’ Partly similar to the present study in terms of two major variables is that by Schumaker, Shea, Monfries, and Groth-Marnat (1992). They conducted cross- cultural research to examine the relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among residents of Fukoku, Japan and Melbourne, Australia, using the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Australian subjects reported significantly less loneliness and significantly greater life satisfaction than Japanese subjects. A high inverse correlation was found between loneliness and life satisfaction in Australian subjects, with a much smaller inverse relationship observed among the Japanese, suggesting that loneliness in Japanese subjects did not emotionally translate into life dissatisfaction as it did in Australian subjects. Instead, the experience of loneliness in Japanese individuals may remain largely independent of general life satisfaction. Wang, Chen, Lin, and Wang (2008) investigated the influences of leisure satisfaction on life satisfaction among adolescent online gamers. Results revealed significant positive relationships between physiological and aesthetic dimensions of leisure satisfaction and life satisfaction. However, the educational dimension of leisure satisfaction has a significant negative influence on life satisfaction. Findings also revealed a significant negative relationship between web surfing frequency and life satisfaction in adolescents.
  38. 38. 38 Other studies on life satisfaction and demographic variables. Gender. People may sometimes be satisfied in situations that they perceived as unfair. According to Inglehart (1990), studies have generally found that women report more life satisfaction. Levels of life satisfaction are generally found to be marginally higher among women than men. One explanation of these sex differences is that women either experience or report positive and negative emotions more strongly than men. Another explanation, with growing evidence to support it, is that women are more socially connected and involved than men, resulting in their being more exposed to the satisfaction and disappointments of those near and dear to them. Age. Life satisfaction research with adults has shown that the positive levels of life satisfaction are not just an epiphenomenon, which is a simple by-product of positive life experiences, personality characteristics, and so forth. These benefits include positive outcomes in intrapersonal, interpersonal, vocational, health, and education arenas (King, Lyubormirsky & Diener, 2003). Studies averaging large sample sizes have found that, on average, life satisfaction is highest among those under 25, fall gradually in middle age (44-55 years) before rising again in later life. For example, in a society like Japan where old people are accorded great respect–life satisfaction is highest amongst those over 65. In Hungary, by contrast, the young are the most satisfied and satisfaction is lower amongst older generations (Diener, 1999).
  39. 39. 39 Online Social Networking Online Social Networking: Historical Perspectives The earliest online social networks were arguably the Bulletin Board Systems of the 80’s that let users post public messages, send and receive private messages, play games and exchange software. Other websites for community and connection emerged in the 1990s, including classmates.com (1995), where users register by high school and year of graduation; Company of Friends, a business-oriented site founded in 1997; and Epinions, founded in 1999 to allow users to give their opinions about various consumer products. A new generation of social networking websites appeared in 2002 with the launch of Friendster. Unlike previous online communities, which brought together anonymous strangers with shared interests, Friendster uses a model of social networking known as the “Circle of Friends” in which users invite friends and acquaintances–that is, people they already know and like–to join their network. Friendster was an immediate success, with millions of registered users by mid-2003; MySpace, launched in 2003, quickly surpassed it. Originally started by musicians, MySpace has become a major venue for sharing music as well as videos and photos. It is now the behemoth of online social networking, with over 100 million registered users. Today, various types of online communities appeared including special interest groups such as Usenet groups; professional associations and online forums where people could exchange ideas on specific topics of interest to them; portals, which provided a single point of entry for individuals and businesses to interact with one another; chat rooms, where users sought new communities and contacts; and short term groups where users participated in one-time events such as online competitions, quizzes, and polls. Some of these communities had moderators and others were more
  40. 40. 40 dependent on users to keep them going. For example, The Well, which still exists, is essentially an online set of forums which are available to users who pay a monthly fee to participate in discussions on such wide-ranging topics as entertainment and media, computer tools, and politics. Nature of social networking sites. Social networking sites have implemented a wide variety of technical features. Their backbone consists of visible profiles that display an articulated list of friends who are also users of the system. Profiles are unique pages where one can “type oneself into being” (Sundén, 2003, p. 3). After joining a social networking site, an individual is asked to fill out forms containing a series of questions. The profile is generated using the answers to these questions, which typically include descriptors such as age, location, interests, and an “about me’ section. Most sites also encourage users to upload a profile photo. Some sites allow users to enhance their profiles by adding multimedia content or modifying their profile's look and feel. Others, such as Facebook, allow users to add modules (Applications) that enhance their profile. The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion. By default, profiles on Friendster and Tribe.net are crawled by search engines, making them visible to anyone, regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account. Alternatively, LinkedIn controls what a viewer may see based on whether she or he has a paid account. Sites like MySpace allow users to choose whether they want their profile to be public or “Friends only.” Facebook takes a different approach–by default, users who are part of the same “network” can view each other's profiles, unless a profile owner has decided to deny permission to those in their network. Structural variations around visibility and access are one of the primary ways that social networking sites
  41. 41. 41 differentiate themselves from each other. After joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the system with whom they have a relationship. The label for these relationships differs depending on the site–popular terms includes “Friends,” “Contacts,” and “Fans.” Most social networking sites require bi-directional confirmation for Friendship, but some do not. These one-directional ties are sometimes labeled as “Fans” or “Followers,” but many sites call these Friends as well. The term “Friends” can be misleading, because the connection does not necessarily mean friendship in the everyday vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied (Boyd, 2007). The public display of connections is a crucial component of social networking sites. The friends list contains links to each friend's profile, enabling viewers to traverse the network graph by clicking through the friends lists. On most sites, the list of friends is visible to anyone who is permitted to view the profile, although there are exceptions. For instance, some MySpace users have “hacked” their profiles to hide the Friends display, and LinkedIn allows users to opt out of displaying their network. Most social networking sites also provide a mechanism for users to leave messages on their Friends' profiles. This feature typically involves leaving “comments,” although sites employ various labels for this feature. In addition, Social networking sites often have a private messaging feature similar to webmail. While both private messages and comments are popular on most of the major social networking sites, they are not universally available. Beyond profiles, Friends, comments, and private messaging, social networking sites vary greatly in their features and user base. Some have photo-sharing or video- sharing capabilities; others have built-in blogging and instant messaging technology. There are mobile-specific social networking sites (e.g., Dodgeball), but some web-
  42. 42. 42 based social networking sites also support limited mobile interactions (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, and Cyworld). Many social networking sites target people from specific geographical regions or linguistic groups, although this does not always determine the site's constituency. Orkut, for example, was launched in the United States with an English-only interface, but Portuguese-speaking Brazilians quickly became the dominant user group (Kopytoff, 2004). Some sites are designed with specific ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, political, or other identity-driven categories in mind. There are even social networking sites for dogs (Dogster) and cats (Catster), although their owners must manage their profiles. While social networking sites are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites to segregate themselves by nationality, age, educational level, or other factors that typically segment society, even if that was not the intention of the designers. While MySpace attracted the majority of media attention in the U.S. and abroad, social networking sites were proliferating and growing in popularity worldwide. Friendster gained traction in the Pacific Islands, Orkut became the premier Social Networking sites in Brazil before growing rapidly in India (Madhavan, 2007), Mixi attained widespread adoption in Japan, LunarStorm took off in Sweden, Dutch users embraced Hyves, Grono captured Poland, Hi5 was adopted in smaller countries in Latin America, South America, and Europe, and Bebo became very popular in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Additionally, previously popular communication and community services began implementing social networking sites features (See Appendix C for the range of current online social network population on a global scale).
  43. 43. 43 Online Social Networking: Theoretical Perspectives Social network theory. Social network theory is concerned with the properties of social support networks and resource exchanges among network members. From a social network perspective, a social network involves a set of actors and the relations that connect them. Actors, either individual people or aggregated units such as organizations or families, exchange resources. These resources may include data, information, goods and services, social support, and financial support. According to social network theory, an individual's social networks comprise strong ties and weak ties. A tie simply refers to the relationship between a certain individual and a particular network member. Strong ties are more intimate and involve more self-disclosure and various forms of resource exchange. People who are strongly tied tend to show similarities in attitudes, background, and experience. While strong ties can provide informational support and validation, the close relationships among strong ties may play an effective role, which can satisfy an individual's emotional needs. (Marsden & Campbell, 1984). On the matter of weak ties, Ye (2006) cited a number of differing perspectives. Weak ties involve fewer intimate exchanges and less frequent maintenance. Weak-tie relationships exist independently of the pressures and dynamics of close social relationships (Adelman, Parks, & Albrecht, 1987). Weak-tie relationships have their unique advantages: for instance, they offer anonymity and objectivity that are not available in close relationships (Walther & Boyd, 2002). Furthermore, weak ties may be especially valuable in the flow of new information (Granovetter, 1982). Those who are loosely acquainted are likely to have access to different information since their social networks involve different members. Therefore, a weak tie can bring an individual resources that are unobtainable from close associates
  44. 44. 44 (Granovetter, 1973). Overall, weak-tie relationships allow people to diversify their networks or connections, thus providing a helpful alternative for social support. Social network theory is applicable to describe human relationships developed in a face-to-face context or through electronic means (Birnie & Horvath, 2002). It is particularly relevant to the examination of how the Internet helps maintain old ties and establish new ties. Similar to other interactive media (e.g., telephone), the Internet supports existing social networks by expanding the means and opportunities for interaction, allowing connection across time and space. In addition, it extends individuals' social networks by allowing them to be involved in various online communities and to communicate with others about their shared interests and concerns. According to Turner and her colleagues (2001), online communities can provide “weak tie” support. Online communication fosters the development of weak ties because discussions often focus on the topic most salient to the user. In addition, compared to strong-tie groups of close personal relations, members of such groups tend to have a greater variety of backgrounds and experiences and thus “more expertise may be brought to bear on the problem” (p. 235). Empirical evidence has lent support for the benefits of online weak ties (Sharf, 1997). Online Social Networking: Related Studies A review of the literature revealed a couple of studies that focused on the aspect of online social networking. A longitudinal study by Kraut, et al., (1998) was one of the first to assess the causal direction of the relationship between Internet use and social involvement and psychological well-being. The association of Internet use with changes in the social and psychological variables showed that participants who used the Internet more heavily became less socially involved and more lonely than light users and
  45. 45. 45 reported an increase in depressive symptoms. Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe (2007) examined the relationship between use of Facebook, a popular online social network site, and the formation and maintenance of social capital. In addition to assessing bonding and bridging social capital, they explored a dimension of social capital that assesses one's ability to stay connected with members of a previously inhabited community, which was referred to as maintained social capital. Regression analyses conducted on results from a survey of undergraduate students suggest a strong association between use of Facebook and the three types of social capital, with the strongest relationship being to bridging social capital. In addition, Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction.
  46. 46. 46 CHAPTER III Research Methodology The primary purpose of this study was to investigate significant differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction among online social networkers as a function of gender, age, marital status, number of friends online, and number of hours spent online. The study also attempted to explore the interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction. The present chapter presents details on the following: research design, participants of the study, research instrumentation, data collection procedure, and data analysis. Research Design The present study is a causal-comparative study as it attempted to compare loneliness, interpersonal orientation and life satisfaction across demographic characteristics, and correlational as it attempted to explore the interrelationships among loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and satisfaction with life among online social networkers. This quantitative study used both descriptive and inferential statistical tools to analyze the data obtained with the use of a survey questionnaire. Participants of the Study In the absence of data on the precise number of Thai online social networkers, the present researcher deemed it sufficient for the purposes of this exploratory study to have a sample group of 300 respondents to test the research hypotheses. The respondents (both members and non members) were obtained by convenience sampling through online distribution of a survey questionnaire. The snowball technique
  47. 47. 47 facilitated the distribution process in that respondents were asked to invite their online friends, who met the inclusion criteria, to participate, and so on. The inclusion criteria for respondents consisted of the following: a) Must be a Thai online social networker; b) can read and write in English or Thai; c) aged over 18 years; and d) must be willing to participate in the study. Research Instrumentation The research instrument employed was a self-administered survey questionnaire that was e-mailed out from the researcher’s own database. Respondents were given the option to complete either the English or Thai version. A cover letter was provided to explain the nature and purpose of the questionnaire. The questionnaire proper consisted of four parts. Part I was a Personal Information section to be filled in with regard to the demographic variables selected. Part II consisted of the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS). Part III consisted of the Liking People Scale (LPS). Part IV consisted of the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). The following section provides more details about each segment of the questionnaire. Part I: Personal Information The first part of the questionnaire was a researcher-constructed set of questions designed to ask about the respondent’s gender, age, marital status, number of friends online, and number of hours spent online utilizing the networking site. To maintain confidentiality, personal information that are not related to the study and which would directly identify respondents were not included in the questionnaire.
  48. 48. 48 Part II: Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS) The Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS) was developed and published by Russell, Peplau, and Cutrona in 1980 and is currently used as a tool to measure loneliness in a variety of populations. This questionnaire is a 20-item scale. This and earlier versions have been used in a number of studies that show loneliness as a common and distressing problem for many people. Loneliness has been linked with any number of other problems, including personality characteristics such as shyness, feeling of alienation, alcohol abuse, adolescent delinquent behavior, suicide, and physical illness. This version of the scale used in the current study was revised to minimize response bias, social desirability response set, and lack of potential uses for practice in identifying lonely individuals whose loneliness is a problem in and of itself, or as related to other problems. Scoring: After reverse-scoring items 1, 4-6, 9, 10, 15, 16, 19, 20, the scores on all 20 items are summed, producing a possible range of 20-80 with higher scores indicating greater loneliness. Validity: The RULS has good concurrent validity, correlating with a number of mood and personality measures (e.g. the Beck Depression inventory, the Texas Social Behavior Inventory) and particularly with a self-labeling loneliness index. In addition, people who were more lonely on the RULS reported more limited social activities and relationship and more emotion theoretical linked to loneliness. Finally, results show the RULS to be unaffected by social desirability response set as measured by Marlowe- Crowne Social Desirability Inventory.
  49. 49. 49 Reliability: The RULS has excellent internal consistency, with an alpha of .94 (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980). Part III: Liking People Scale (LPS) The Liking People Scale (LPS) was developed and published by Erik E. Filsinger in 1981 and is currently used as a tool to assess the level of interpersonal orientation. The questionnaire contains 15 items used to measure one aspect of interpersonal orientation–the general liking of people. Interpersonal orientation plays a significant role in one’s social development. The theoretical point of departure of the LPS is that the degree of liking people influences whether one approaches or avoids social interaction. Scoring: The respondents rate each item on their agreement or disagreement according to their feelings. The ratings are quantified from 1 to 5 in terms of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Item numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 are scored as above. Item numbers 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 15 are reverse-scored. Higher scores indicate more liking of people or higher interpersonal orientation. Scoring Interval: The total scores are the sum of all items which range between 15 to 75 points. After having the sum score, the researcher divided the level of interpersonal orientations into 3 levels by using the mean score and standard deviation from the sample as follows: Level Score Low 15-40 points Moderate 41-62 points High 63-75 points
  50. 50. 50 Reliability: The reliability of the LPS was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha to test internal consistency. The LPS has good to very good internal consistency from two samples of college students (.85 and .75) coefficient alpha was .78 from random sample of adults (all as cited in Fischer & Corcoran, 2007). Part IV: Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was developed and published by Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and Griffin in 1985. The SWLS consists of five statements about satisfaction with life, referring to the cognitive-judgmental aspects of general life satisfaction. Thus, in contrast to measures that apply some external standard, the SWLS reveals the individual’s own judgment of his or her quality of life. Satisfaction with life is often a key component of mental or subjective well-being. Scoring: Each item is scored from 1 to 7 in terms of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Item scores are summed for total score, which ranges from 5 to 35, with higher scores reflecting more satisfaction with life. Reliability: The 5 items on SWLS were selected from a pool of 48 based on factor analysis. The instrument’s internal consistency is very good; with an alpha of 0.87. The instrument has excellent test-retest reliability, with a correlation of 0.82 for a two month period, suggesting it is stable (all as cited in Fischer & Corcoran, 2007). Instrument translation. The Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale was translated into Thai by the researcher and back-translated by a bilingual expert. The other research instruments–Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL) and Liking People scale (LPS) have been translated by previous researchers in earlier unpublished studies and have been deemed reliable.
  51. 51. 51 Data Collection Procedure Data collection consisted of the following procedural steps: 1. A pretest of the Thai version of the survey questionnaire was conducted prior to the actual study on 20 members of online social networking sites and 20 non-members who were recruited online through convenience sampling. The pretest exercise checked for any difficulty respondents might have with regard to the questionnaire directions and item statements as well as to determine the reliability of the instrument. 2. As there were no problems encountered in the pretest and the major instruments were found to be reliable, the researcher proceeded to conduct the actual study by an electronic mail blast. The strategy of viral E-mail (snowballing) was employed to facilitate the distribution of questionnaires online. The researcher requested that the completed questionnaires be sent back to the researcher by e-mail. The whole process of distribution and collection of the questionnaires took approximately one month. 3. After collection of all the completed questionnaires, the researcher individually inspected the questionnaires to check for possible errors in completion which, for the purposes of the study, would be deemed invalid. Only the valid questionnaires were subsequently subjected to statistical analysis; a total of 306 questionnaires qualified.
  52. 52. 52 Data Analysis After completion of the data collection process, the respondents’ data were encoded, processed, and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Data Analysis was accomplished through the following statistical treatments: 1. Descriptive statistics: Frequency and percentage distributions were used to analyze the respondents’ demographic data. Mean scores were utilized in the analysis of the respondents’ scores. 2. Inferential statistics: Appropriate statistical methods and tools including ANOVA, Eta, Post Hoc Multiple Comparisons, and Pearson Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation were employed to test the three research hypotheses of the study. Significant differences in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and satisfaction with life as a function of the five demographic characteristics were tested at the .05 level of significance, and the statistical interrelationships among the three main variables were also tested at the .05 level of significance.
  53. 53. 53 CHAPTER IV Presentation and Analysis of Data This chapter presents the results of the SPSS-based analyses of data which were obtained from participants through a self-administered online survey questionnaire. The study involved a total of 306 participants (n=306). The findings of the study are presented in the following order: Section 1. Descriptive Statistics: Tabular presentation of the demographic profile of the respondents with corresponding analysis and interpretation. Section 2. Inferential Statistics: Individual hypothesis testing with corresponding tabular presentation, analysis, and interpretation. The order of hypotheses testing followed the original sequence of the research hypotheses; hence, the focal points of analysis are as follows: 1. Difference in loneliness, interpersonal orientation, and life satisfaction as a function of gender, age, marital status, number of friends online through social networking sites, and number of hours spent online for social networking sites. 2. Relationship between loneliness and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites. 3. Relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among members and non- members of online social networking sites. 4. Relationship between life satisfaction and interpersonal orientation among members and non-members of online social networking sites.
  54. 54. 54 Reliability of Data Collection Tools Several instruments were utilized in this study, namely, Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS), Liking People Scale (LPS), and Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Apart from these, the instruments were accompanied by a personal information form that was used to elicit information about the demographic characteristics of the participants. The following Cronbach Alpha values were observed in the three main instruments used for this research: 1. Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS) = .8032 (n = 306; No. of items = 20) 2. Liking People Scale or (LPS) = .7017 (n = 306; No. of items = 15) 3. Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) = .7822 (n = 306; No. of items = 5) The reliability coefficient values obtained were fairly high and acceptable for psychological research and application. Section 1: Descriptive Statistics Sample Distribution In total, 306 members of online social networking sites and non-members took part in the survey conducted by the researcher. These were obtained through a convenience sampling procedure via e-mail invitation. The participants were grouped according to their gender, age, marital status, number of friends online through social networking sites, and numbers of hours spent online through social networking sites, as follows:
  55. 55. 55 Demographic Profiles of Participants Table 1 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Gender Gender Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Male 113 36.9 36.9 36.9 Female 193 63.1 63.1 100.0 Total 306 100.0 100.0 Table 1 indicates the majority of participants who took part in this study were females, consisting of 193 (or 63.1%) out of the total 306. There were 113 (or 36.9%) males. Table 2 Frequency and Percentage Distribution of Age Age Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent 25 and below 59 19.3 19.3 19.3 26-32 167 54.6 54.6 73.9 33-39 56 18.3 18.3 92.2 40 and above 24 7.8 7.8 100.0 Total 306 100.0 100.0 Table 2 shows that the majority of the population who took part in this study are in the age range of 26-32 years, consisting of 167 (or 54.6%) out of the total 306; 59 (or 19.3%) are in the age range of 25 years and below; 56 (or 18.3%) are in the age range of 33-39 years; and 24 (or 7.8%) are in the age range of 40 years and above.

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