Title

A Preliminary Examination of the Relationship Between Social Networking Interactions, Internet Use, and Thwarted Belongingness

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-12-2015

School

Psychology

Abstract

Background: Joiner's (2005) interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide hypothesizes that suicidal desire develops in response to the joint presence of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness.

Aims: To consider the potential influence of online interactions and behaviors on these outcomes.

Method: To address this, we administered an online protocol assessing suicidal desire and online interactions in a sample of 305 undergraduates (83.6% female). We hypothesized negative interactions on social networking sites and a preference for online social interactions would be associated with thwarted belongingness. We also conducted an exploratory analysis examining the associations between Internet usage and perceived burdensomeness.

Results: Higher levels of negative interactions on social networking sites, but no other variables, significantly predicted thwarted belongingness. Our exploratory analysis showed that none of our predictors were associated with perceived burdensomeness after accounting for demographics, depression, and thwarted belongingness.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that a general tendency to have negative interactions on social networking sites could possibly impact suicidal desire and that these effects are significant above and beyond depression symptoms. Furthermore, no other aspect of problematic Internet use significantly predicted our outcomes in multivariate analyses, indicating that social networking in particular may have a robust effect on thwarted belongingness.

Publication Title

Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention

Volume

36

Issue

3

First Page

187

Last Page

193

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