Examining Gender Differences and Relationships Among Facebook Usage, Personal Identity, Social Identity, Personal-Emotional Adjustment, and Social Adjustment in College Freshmen




Hall, Elizabeth M

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There is conflicting evidence as to whether or not Facebook relates to characteristics associated with a positive well-being, particularly when considering gender. The purpose of this thesis was to explore the relationships among Facebook usage, personal identity, social identity, personal-emotional adjustment, and social adjustment. Additionally, this study aimed to explore whether or not the relationships among these variables differed by gender. A total of 174 freshmen students from 98 different universities participated in an online survey including a scale for Facebook usage, personal identity, personal-emotional adjustment and social adjustment. Some of the most notable significant findings include a positive relationship between Facebook usage and personal identity social identity, and social adjustment, in the overall sample. These significant relationships present in the overall findings were also observed in the male sample, whereas social identity, was the only variable that positively correlated with Facebook usage in the female sample. Because this study does not establish that Facebook causes a greater sense of personal identity, social identity and social adjustment, ideas for future research involving moderating factors such as personality were explored. Additionally, the relationship between social identity and social adjustment was discussed in the context of Erikson’s theory whereas the need for future research regarding other relationships among the identity and adjustment variables were explored. Overall, this study provides a basis for research supporting college students using Facebook while paving a foundation for future studies in the field.



Facebook usage, Social adjustment, Personal-emotional adjustment, Personal identity, Social identity