Date of Conferral
Stress affects individuals' physiology, mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities. Social support has been found effective in buffering stress. The social networking site Facebook allows individuals to connect to others to share stories, pictures, and general life events and, in so doing, offers a means of social support that bridges geographical distances for friends and family. There is limited research, however, on whether using Facebook buffers against stress. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the use of Facebook for social support using the conservation of resources theoretical model of stress management. Fifty-seven Facebook users over the age of 18, participated in the study. Multiple regressions were used to test hypotheses for two research questions. These questions examined the combined and relative effects of face-to-face social support, Facebook social support, stress, age, sex, number of Facebook friends, and percentage of Facebook friends who are also in the participant's face-to-face support group in accounting for variance in resource loss, resource threat, and resource gain, as well as the extent the set of predictors differentially predict resource loss, resource threat, and resource gain. This resulted in several key findings. Facebook social support and being female predicted Facebook resource gain. Face-to-face social support positively predicted face-to-face resource gain and negatively predicted Facebook resource loss whereas stress positively predicted resource threat. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by providing research-based results on how individuals might gain additional social support to help replenish their resource pools and buffer against stress.