Title page for ETD etd-03172010-212949

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sheldon, Pavica
Author's Email Address pjuric1@lsu.edu; pjuric@yahoo.com
URN etd-03172010-212949
Title Similarities and Differences in Self-Disclosure and Friendship Development between Face-to-Face Communication and Facebook
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Honeycutt, James M. Committee Chair
Edwards, Renee Committee Member
Pecchioni, Loretta Committee Member
Sylvester, Judith L. Committee Member
Maccio, Elaine M. Dean's Representative
  • survey
  • social penetration theory
  • self-disclosure
  • social network sites
Date of Defense 2010-02-26
Availability unrestricted
This research identified the patterns of self-disclosure between face-to-face and Facebook friends’ interactions. A survey of 317 participants was conducted to compare the hypothesized relationships among social attraction, self-disclosure, predictability and trust in three types of relationships: recently added Facebook friend, exclusive Facebook friend, and an exclusive face-to-face friend. Data was analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), t-tests and correlations.

Results indicated that individuals reporting high levels of social attraction also reported having greater self-disclosure with their latest added Facebook friend, exclusive Facebook friend and an exclusive face-to-face friend. This supports a theorem of Uncertainty Reduction Theory that states that persons disclose intimate information to individuals they like and withhold intimate information from persons whom they do not like. These individuals also reported greater predictability of their Facebook and face-to-face friends’ behavior, which supports axiom of Uncertainty Reduction Theory that as the amount of verbal communication between strangers increases, the level of uncertainty for each interactant in the relationship will decrease. The more friends talked to each other, the less uncertainty they experienced. Additional evidence that the relationship development across different friendship types (latest added Facebook friend, exclusive Facebook friend and exclusive face-to-face friend) is similar was the statistically significant relationship between the variables of self-disclosure and trust. This supports the tenets of Social Penetration Theory and previous studies that found self-disclosure to be important for the facilitation of developing mutual trust.

The results of this study showed that the process of relationship development, in terms of the relationship between social attraction, self-disclosure, predictability and trust, were similar in both Facebook and face-to-face relationships. However, significant differences existed in the amount of self-disclosure and trust between Facebook friends and face-to-face friends. Although the average duration of both exclusive face-to-face friendships and exclusive Facebook friendships was six years, participants reported more self-disclosure, more predictability and trust in their face-to-face friends than with their Facebook friends. The findings about offline friendships involving more breadth and depth than online friendships seem to support “cues-filtered-out” approach.

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