This study applied online disinhibition effect  to examine perceived psychological benefits (PPB) derived from computer-mediated communication (CMC). The models examined the relationship between psychological health (loneliness, self-esteem and social anxiety) and CMC for social interaction (to seek romantic/sexual relationships and emotional/social support), compulsive internet use (CIU) and PPB derived from CMC. Group comparisons across sex were also examined. The sample included 167 (47 men and 120 women) university students from Malaysia. Results suggest loneliness, low self-esteem and social anxiety in men can help explain CIU. For women, only social anxiety explains CIU. However, group comparison indicated that socially anxious men were less likely to be compulsive Internet users. Contrary to expectation, CMC for social interaction was perceived as a negative influence to psychological functioning by men and women. Results further suggest that women’s PPB from using CMC to seek emotional/social support was significantly less compared to men’s. Bidirectional relationship was indicated only in the men’s model between self-esteem with CIU, and self-esteem and CMC for romantic/sexual relationship.
Ming Sing Chai,
Computer-Mediated Communication and Its Influence on Psychological Functioning, American Journal of Applied Psychology. Special Issue: Psychology of University Students.
Vol. 4, No. 3-1,
2015, pp. 7-14.
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