Spiralling out of control? Online vulnerability in ego-centric networks

Buglass, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8461, 2018. Spiralling out of control? Online vulnerability in ego-centric networks. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Online social network sites (SNS) are a ubiquitous method of socialising in the digital era. A potential source of social support, their continued and frequent use has been linked to a fear of missing out (FOMO) and the implicit desire to regulate offline psychological needs deficits through online connective behaviours. This thesis provides an examination of the online vulnerability implications associated with social networking. A multi-methods approach was used combining self-report surveys with digitally derived data from participants’ online networks. Participants were sampled by age-group (adolescents, university students, and adults), rendering an overall sample of 506 (53% male; 13 to 77 years) UK based Facebook users, from which subsequent study-specific datasets were derived. Data were analysed using confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling, mediation analysis, multilevel modelling, and social network analysis. The results indicate that: (1) FOMO and online connective behaviours mediate the relationship between offline psychological vulnerability and exposure to negative online experiences; (2) offline vulnerabilities have the capacity to initiate a cycle of potentially problematic online behaviour; (3) maintaining a large, diverse network of social connections is associated with higher levels of reported exposure to negative online experiences; (4) the presence of certain types of individuals / online entities might be associated with an individual experiencing negative online experiences, and (5) adult users might be less likely to perceive themselves as vulnerable to negative online experiences when compared to adolescent users. The research contributes to knowledge and understanding of online life by providing a digitally enhanced perspective of the implications that offline psycho-social motivations, online behaviours, and user characteristics can have on an individual’s vulnerability to negative online experiences.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Buglass, S.L.
Date: June 2018
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 31 Oct 2018 09:56
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2018 09:56
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34817

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