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.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Information Systems
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Library and Information Sciences