Social network engagement and subjective well-being: a life-course perspective

Wheatley, D.L. and Buglass, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8461, 2019. Social network engagement and subjective well-being: a life-course perspective. British Journal of Sociology, 70 (5), pp. 1971-1995. ISSN 0007-1315

10355_Buglass.pdf - Post-print

Download (382kB) | Preview


Social networking is a digital phenomenon embraced by billions worldwide. Use of online social platforms has the potential to generate a number of benefits including to well-being from enhanced social connectedness and social capital accumulation, but is also associated with several negative behaviours and impacts. Employing a life-course perspective, this paper explores social networking use and its relationship with measures of subjective well-being. Large-scale UK panel data from wave 3 (2011-12) and 6 (2014-15) of Understanding Society reveals that social network users are on average younger, aged under 25, but that rising use is reported across the life-course including into old age. Probit, multinomial logistic, and ANCOVA and change-score estimations reveal that membership, and greater use, of social networks is associated with higher levels of overall life satisfaction. However, heavy use of social networking sites has negative impacts, reflected in reductions in subjective well-being. Socio-economic disadvantage may drive these impacts among young (in education), unemployed and economically inactive heavy SNS users.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: British Journal of Sociology
Creators: Wheatley, D.L. and Buglass, S.L.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Date: December 2019
Volume: 70
Number: 5
ISSN: 0007-1315
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 10 Jan 2019 11:27
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 12:43

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year