Loneliness and Internet use

Y. Amichai-Hamburger, E. Ben-Artzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Internet is becoming increasingly influential, but some observers have noted that heavy Internet users seem alienated from normal social contacts and may even cut these off as the Internet becomes the predominate social factor in their lives. Kraut, Patterson, Lundmark, Kiesler, Mukopadhyay, and Scherlis [American Psychologist 53 (1998) 65] carried out a longitudinal study from which they concluded that Internet use leads to loneliness among its users. However, their study did not take into account that the population of Internet users is not uniform and comprises many different personality types. People use the Internet in a variety of ways in keeping with their own personal preference. Therefore, the results of this interaction between personality and Internet use are likely to vary among different individuals and similarly the impact on user well-being will not be uniform. One of the personality characteristics that has been found to influence Internet use is that of extroversion and neuroticism [Hamburger & Ben-Artzi, Computers in Human Behavior 16 (2000) 441]. For this study, 89 participants completed questionnaires pertaining to their own Internet use and feelings of loneliness and extroversion and neuroticism. The results were compared to two models (a) the Kraut et al. (1998) model which argues that Internet use leads to loneliness (b) an alternative model which argues that it is those people who are already lonely who spend time on the Internet. A satisfactory goodness of fit was found for the alternative model. Building on these results, several different directions are suggested for continuing research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2003

Keywords

  • Internet
  • Loneliness
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality

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