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Matthew Fearrington


Baby boomers are the largest age cohort in the United States, making up approximately 20% of the population. This cohort is faced with global problems that contribute to perceived loneliness and a lack of socialization. Additionally, baby boomers have an increased online presence on Facebook (FB), yet little is known about this age group and FB use. This research study addressed this issue with an examination of the relationships between overall perceived loneliness, socialization efficacy, and FB use. The theoretical framework that guided this study was Bandura's social learning theory, which was used to examine the effects of social reinforcement. Participants, those born between 1946 and 1964, (n = 97) were asked to share 2 months of FB activity, including the number of FB friends, number of postings, types of postings, quotes included, status updates, articles reposted, and whether friends were tagged in their posts. The FB variables were correlated with perceived loneliness, as measured by the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale, and socialization efficacy, as measured by the Social Skill Scale, through a stepwise multiple regression analysis. The findings did not yield any statistically significant relationships between the FB variables and loneliness or socialization efficacy among baby boomers. These findings imply that other factors not studied here are promoting the increase in baby boomer FB use. The social change implications include mental health clinicians having a deeper knowledge base of baby boomers' FB use and an accurate portrayal of this cohort for increased treatment effectiveness, as baby boomers are portrayed as being lonely, isolated, and technologically challenged, which was not empirically supported in this study.

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