Facebook as a Social Support Access Point: Exploring the Solicitation of Social Support Subtypes

Travis Kadylak, Taj Makki


In this study, we assessed distinct types of social support afforded from Facebook use. We aimed to compare social support subtypes for their salience on Facebook – while holding constant salient interpersonal mechanisms (e.g., interpersonal mattering). Survey data was collected from students enrolled at a large Midwestern university (n = 247). Our findings showed that Facebook intensity was positively associated with perceived social support afforded from Facebook use, with Facebook esteem support standing out as the most salient social support subtype on Facebook (b = 0.32, SE = 0.05, p < .001, R^2 = .16, n = 246). However, we did not expect Facebook intensity to be positively associated with Facebook esteem-support. The counter finding could suggest that we underestimated the potential esteem boosting functions afforded by Facebook use and perhaps overestimated the effect of negative social comparisons. In addition, we found that interpersonal mattering was inversely associated with Facebook belonging support (b = -1.10, SE = 0.33, p < .01). Interpersonal mattering was positively associated with each of the other three Facebook social support sub-scales – net of the positive effect of Facebook intensity. Our study therefore provides evidence that belonging support is potentially one of the most prevalent forms of social support derived from Facebook use, among college students that have a low sense of interpersonal mattering. Implications, data limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Facebook; Facebook Intensity; Social Support; Interpersonal Mattering

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