Young adults’ perceptions of their online versus offline interactions with close friends: An exploration of individual differences

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Scott, RA
Stuart, J
Barber, BL
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2024
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https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract

The current study investigated the roles of social anxiety and gender as factors in young adults’ perceptions of the differences in their online versus offline interactions with friends. A large sample of 687 Australian young adults completed an online survey and of those, 520 participants (62.7% female; Mage = 19.34 years, SD = 2.05) who perceived a difference between their online and offline interactions were included in analyses. Matrix coding and crosstab queries were conducted comparing frequencies of theme endorsement of those high (n = 103) versus low-to-moderate (n = 416) in social anxiety, and female (n = 326) versus male (n = 193). Key differences were noted for socially anxious versus less-anxious youth, and in how females described and utilised the affordances of online interaction, relative to males. Compared to their peers with lower social anxiety, more socially anxious young adults described feeling more confident, comfortable, and open in online versus offline interactions with close friends. Further, female young adults reported using the perceived control and accessibility of friends online for relationship maintenance more than their male counterparts. Results highlight the need for additional research exploring the nuances of online interactions and the experiences of such for young adults.

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Computers in Human Behavior Reports
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14
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© 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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This publication has been entered in Griffith Research Online as an advance online version.
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Distributed computing and systems software
Human-centred computing
Information systems
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Scott, RA; Stuart, J; Barber, BL, Young adults’ perceptions of their online versus offline interactions with close friends: An exploration of individual differences, Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 2024, 14, pp. 100399
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