Human Connection in the Digital Age: Can Individuals Feel Seen, Heard and Valued via Messaging Apps?
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Almost everyone uses instant messaging apps these days. But what are its effects on human connection in friendships? Previous research found that the role of self-disclosure is important in this process. The first objective of this thesis was to test the internet enhanced self-disclosure theory. This theory states that the stimulating effect of instant messaging on friendship quality is mediated by online self-disclosure. The second objective of this thesis was to re-test the multiple mediator model that states that online self-disclosure stimulates offline self-disclosure and thereby improves the quality of friendships. I found evidence for both these theories. Furthermore, I explored the influence of age and extraversion on online and offline self-disclosure behavior. I found evidence in line with past research: younger participants disclose more easily online in comparison to older participants. A suggestion for further research is to test the internet enhanced self-disclosure theory and the multiple mediator model in different age groups.