There is scant research on the broader outcomes of IT in users’ life contexts beyond adoption. This study uses a goal hierarchy approach to deepen our understanding of the relationship between the use of Facebook and psychological well-being (PWB) in young adults. The study applies a mixed-method design that combines means-end analysis and regression analysis to examine data collected from laddering interviews with 161 Facebook users. The means-end chain analysis provided knowledge of the hierarchical goal structure in Facebook (i.e., activities → mediated goals → ultimate goals). Regression analysis was used to identify the relationships between the ultimate goals of Facebook use (e.g., psychological stability, belongingness) and the dimensions of PWB (e.g., self-acceptance, autonomy). The findings explain the significant association of Facebook use with well-being and the dual outcomes of enjoyment (positive in SNS; negative in users’ lives). Prior research focused on relationships among abstract factors, but this study delivers a more specific and nuanced explanation of user behavior on SNSs by providing knowledge of how specific Facebook activities relate to goals and PWB.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Our findings specified six high-level goals on Facebook. Belongingness (G10) is the most centralized ultimate goal, which is supported by several subordinate goals. Catching up on others’ lives (G3) is a fundamental means for users to achieve a sense of community. By catching up on others’ lives on Facebook, users can maintain their social relationships and, ultimately, gain a sense of belongingness. Additionally, catching up on others’ lives on Facebook enables users to maintain connections with weak-tie acquaintances with whom users rarely interact offline; subsequently, users can achieve a sense of belongingness. These findings show that users seek belongingness on Facebook by managing social relationships, including distant relations.
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF-2016S1A3A2924760 ).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Information Systems
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Library and Information Sciences