Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The changing landscape of adolescent Internet communication and its relationship to psychosocial adjustment and academic performance
by Windham, R. Craig, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2007, 166; 3290782
Abstract (Summary)

The Internet and its related interactive media such as instant messaging, text messaging, and social networking websites have become an integral part of adolescent culture, allowing teenagers to remain in virtually constant contact with their friends. This study investigates the relationship between communication using socially interactive technologies (SITs) and psychosocial adjustment and academic performance among high school students. A sample of 614 ninth and eleventh grade students (mean age = 15.2 yrs.) completed three self-report measures: Two were newly-adapted instruments assessing Internet/SITs use, academic performance, and attitudes, experiences, and behaviors regarding time online. The third was the Behavior Assessment System for Children—Self-Report of Personality-Adolescent (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004). A sub-sample of participants also completed an online log of Internet use over a three-day period. More than two-thirds of participants reported using SITs at least once a day, and 55% said they communicated with friends online while doing homework. Girls in the study were more likely than boys to use SITs. Text messaging was tied with instant messaging as the preferred method of written communication with friends, followed by social networking sites. Five hypotheses were tested. Contrary to prediction, there was no significant positive relationship between SITs use overall and psychosocial adjustment, although there was a positive link between adjustment and instant messaging and a negative association between adjustment and use of social networking websites. In addition, gender did not moderate relationships between SITs use and psychosocial adjustment as expected, nor was SITs use by male students linked to better adjustment. The other predictions were generally supported by the results. Use of SITs, in particular text messaging and social networking sites, had a significant negative relationship to student grade point average. For ninth grade participants, potentially problematic attitudes and behaviors regarding time spent online had a significant negative association with both psychosocial adjustment and academic performance. Finally, Internet/SITs communication was found to involve significantly more interaction with members of the opposite sex than face-to-face or telephone conversations. The findings offer insight into the role communication using interactive messaging media may play in the social development of adolescents.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lanthier, Richard P.
Commitee: Harvey, Lisa St. C., Marotta, Sylvia A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Counseling, Human & Organizational Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Communication, Academic guidance counseling, Mass media
Keywords: Academic performance, Adolescent, Communication, Internet, Messaging, Online, Psychosocial adjustment, Social
Publication Number: 3290782
ISBN: 978-0-549-34677-7
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