Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Facebook (Firm)-Psychological aspects, Online social networks-Psychological aspects, Young adults-Psychology, Young adults-Social networks, Social media-Psychological aspects, Social networking sites (SNS), Emotional support, Young adult, Media use


The present study sought to learn about the factors associated with young adult use of Facebook for emotional support. The population of interest was individuals born in the years 1980 to 1994, also known as "Generation Y". Inclusion criteria included being at least age 18, born in or between the years 1980 to 1994, literacy in English, and having a Facebook account. An anonymous, online survey was used to collect quantitative data, including demographic information, perceived financial need, social support, coping behavior, Facebook intensity, Facebook satisfaction, emotional support received and provided on Facebook, and categories of Facebook use. The researcher emailed 95 friends, requesting that they send the survey link to at least 10 of their own friends, unknown to the researcher. Recruitment efforts yielded a sample of 167 individuals, primarily Caucasian (83.1%) and female (76.5%), with a mean age of 25.7. Findings indicate that being female, having a "seeking social support" coping style, Facebook intensity, and Facebook satisfaction were all positively associated with use of Facebook for both receiving and providing emotional support. Additionally, "general emotions" and "friendships" were the only two of 12 possible categories of Facebook use for which the majority of participants reported seeking emotional support on Facebook. Further examination of these and additional findings is provided. The implication of findings for social work practice, policy, and research is discussed. Greater emphasis is needed on expanding our understanding of the relationship between social work, social networking sites, emotional support, and mental health.




v, 141 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 111-124)