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Comput Human Behav. 2014 Nov;40:23-30.

Technology addiction's contribution to mental wellbeing: The positive effect of online social capital.

Author information

1
Department of Communication, Bowling Green State University, United States.
2
Department of Communication, University of New Mexico, United States.
3
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, United States.

Abstract

This research examines the effect of online social capital and Internet use on the normally negative effects of technology addiction, especially for individuals prone to self-concealment. Self-concealment is a personality trait that describes individuals who are more likely to withhold personal and private information, inhibiting catharsis and wellbeing. Addiction, in any context, is also typically associated with negative outcomes. However, we investigate the hypothesis that communication technology addiction may positively affect wellbeing for self-concealing individuals when online interaction is positive, builds relationships, or fosters a sense of community. Within these parameters, increased communication through mediated channels (and even addiction) may reverse the otherwise negative effects of self-concealment on wellbeing. Overall, the proposed model offers qualified support for the continued analysis of mediated communication as a potential source for improving the wellbeing for particular individuals. This study is important because we know that healthy communication in relationships, including disclosure, is important to wellbeing. This study recognizes that not all people are comfortable communicating in face-to-face settings. Our findings offer evidence that the presence of computers in human behaviors (e.g., mediated channels of communication and NCTs) enables some individuals to communicate and fos ter beneficial interpersonal relationships, and improve their wellbeing.

KEYWORDS:

Online social capital; Self-concealment; Technology addiction; Wellbeing

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