Social networks and social support: Media use and the college transition
Lackaff, Derek James
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This dissertation contains three main sections. The first section begins with an overview of network generation research, with special attention paid to computer-assisted self-interviewing techniques. This chapter discusses the author's implementation of a social network site aware survey application called PASN. A pilot study using PASN was conducted (N = 85), and the results suggest that this method may result in less participant burden in social network data provision. The second section presents a review of theories of social belonging. The models in this study compared students (N = 179) who were local to their college to students who made a more substantial geographic move to attend college. The analysis revealed little difference in terms of average communication technology use and that nonlocal students had more face-to-face interaction than local students. Nonlocal students experienced significantly more loneliness, and both groups experienced declines in satisfaction over the semester, with the effect being exacerbated for nonlocal students. The final section utilizes a novel operationalization of social integration and divestment to explore the college transition. The findings of these analysis present tentative evidence that reliance on the pre-college social support network may be associated with less positive student outcomes.
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