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Title: Online communication and real-life friendship quality: An interaction between reality and virtual world
Authors: Wong, Wing Sze Wing (黃思穎)
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Issue Date: 2008
Course: SS4708 Research Project in Psychology
Programme: BSocSc (Hons) in Psychology
Instructor: Dr. Christopher H. K. Cheng
Subjects: Online social networks
Internet -- Social aspects
Interpersonal communication
Abstract: Objective. The present research aimed at investigating the relationship between online communication and real-life friendship quality. Earlier finding tended to show a reduction hypothesis that online communication had a negative effect on real-life friendship quality due to the displacement of time used on real-life contact by the time used online and the weak ties formed online. Recent research supported stimulation hypothesis that online communication positively affected real-life friendship quality as online communication served as another mean to interact with preexisting friends and boost the formation of strong tie relationship. It was noted that to whom one mainly communicated with and what online communication tools one used should be account for the effect of online communication on real-life friendship quality. Methods. There were 102 participants in the present study. Emails were sent to invite participants to fill out a questionnaire, which has adapted “Perceived breadth and depth of online communication”, “Network Relationship Inventory (NRI)”, and “Self-disclosure Index”, on a free online survey generator website. Moreover, they were requested to invite their friends for participating in this study. Snowball sampling was thus resulted. Results. The results were consistent with stimulation hypothesis that having online communication with real-life friends more frequently would lead to better real-life friendship quality. It is noted that time spent with friends showed a strong effect on support, satisfaction, and disclosure, which influence real-life friendship quality. Discussion. The present study provided insights on making use of online communication as an auxiliary tool for maintaining real-life friendship. Some limitations of the present study were identified and it is suggested further research may have to adapt to the changing nature of online communication due to the introduction of visual and auditory devices, and the development of other means of online communication.
Appears in Collections:OAPS - Dept. of Applied Social Sciences

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