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J Adolesc. 2014 Jul;37(5):691-9. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Dec 8.

Loneliness and Facebook motives in adolescence: a longitudinal inquiry into directionality of effect.

Author information

1
Department School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development, University of Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: Eveline.Teppers@ppw.kuleuven.be.
2
Department School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development, University of Leuven, Belgium.
3
Department Developmental Psychology, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The increasing popularity of Facebook among adolescents has stimulated research to investigate the relationship between Facebook use and loneliness, which is particularly prevalent in adolescence. The aim of the present study was to improve our understanding of the relationship between Facebook use and loneliness. Specifically, we examined how Facebook motives and two relationship-specific forms of adolescent loneliness are associated longitudinally. Cross-lagged analysis based on data from 256 adolescents (64% girls, M(age) = 15.88 years) revealed that peer-related loneliness was related over time to using Facebook for social skills compensation, reducing feelings of loneliness, and having interpersonal contact. Facebook use for making new friends reduced peer-related loneliness over time, whereas Facebook use for social skills compensation increased peer-related loneliness over time. Hence, depending on adolescents' Facebook motives, either the displacement or the stimulation hypothesis is supported. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Facebook; Loneliness; Longitudinal; Motives

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