Exploring associations between young adults’ facebook use and psychological well-being: A goal hierarchy approach

Yoonhyuk Jung, Suzanne D. Pawlowski, Hee Woong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1404
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding 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.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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