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Internet Use, Happiness, Social Support And Introversion: A More Fine Grained Analysis Of Person Variables And Internet Activity

M. E. Mitchell, J. Lebow, R. Uribe, H. Grathouse, W. Shoger
Published 2011 · Psychology, Computer Science

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The Internet is no longer an advanced technology accessible to a select few. It has become a ubiquitous tool for users ranging from professional programmers to casual surfers and young children. The exponential increase in time online has prompted curiosity and speculation about the interaction between this technology and individual person variables. While general survey data exist regarding broad patterns of Internet use, less is known about the relationship between specific usage and individual personality dimensions, mood variables, or social activity. This study sought to clarify several of these relationships. One hundred eighty-five undergraduate student volunteers completed two detailed measures of Internet use across various domains (for example: work/school, tasks/services, entertainment), as well as measures of happiness, perceived social support, and introversion. Specific types of Internet use, including gaming and entertainment usage, were found to predict perceived social support, introversion and happiness. Use of the Internet for mischief-related activities (for example: downloading without payment, fraud, snooping) was associated with lower levels of happiness and social support. These findings support the utility of and need for specific rather than general Internet research. Directions for future research clarifying the role of the Internet in quality of life and interpersonal relations are suggested.
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