Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Emerging Adult Facebook Use: A Psychoanalytic Case Study
by Sullivan, Brendan D., Ph.D., Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago), 2017, 273; 10830336
Abstract (Summary)

This study set out to explore the subjective experiences of five emerging adult Facebook users through a hermeneutic case study methodology with an interpretive psychoanalytic theoretical framework valuing the co-construction of meaning. The lack of previous research regarding emerging adulthood and technology, especially within psychoanalytic discourse, was a significant motivation for this study.

This research examined the psychoanalytic meanings of emerging adult Facebook use, contextualized within a life-stage, object-relational construct relevant to the processes of self, development, and idiom. Each emerging adult participant was interviewed multiple times. In addition to narrative data, a visual analysis was conducted in order to supplement overall thematic patterns, providing a holistic embodiment of the case. Within-case analyses were developed into individual case reports.

These findings suggest that all of the participants used Facebook as an object for multiple purposes of developmental progression and formation of self, including the positive elaboration of self through their relationship with Facebook, as well as barriers to self-growth experienced by a collapse of potential space within Facebook. Furthermore, all participants used this social media platform as a type of developmental intermediate space for adult-related play and transitional progression. An unexpected, yet notable finding was the level and nature of unconscious communication that was experienced and facilitated through Facebook use.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tolleson, Jennifer
School: Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)
Department: Clinical Social Work
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Web Studies, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Emerging adult, Facebook
Publication Number: 10830336
ISBN: 9798664745559
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