- The effects of instant messaging on the quality of adolescents’ existing friendships: a longitudinal study
- Journal of Communication
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Recent studies suggest that instant messaging (IM) is positively related to the quality of adolescents’ existing friendships. However, most of these studies were based on cross-sectional correlational data. In addition, most studies have focused on direct effects of IM on the quality of friendships without exploring mediating variables that may explain these effects. The aim of this study was to fill these two lacunae in the literature. We hypothesized that IM, which is mostly used to communicate with existing friends, stimulates the quality of friendships, via its potential to stimulate intimate online self-disclosure. A sample of 812 Dutch adolescents between 10 and 17 years of age were surveyed twice within a 6-month interval. IM had a positive longitudinal effect on the quality of adolescents’ existing friendships. This direct positive effect could be explained entirely by adolescents’ tendency to disclose intimate information online.
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