Happiness, Loneliness, and Social Media: Perceived Intimacy Mediates the Emotional Benefits of Platform Use

Matthew Pittman


The purpose of this study is to explore the how user perceptions of social media might influence effects on psychological well-being. Social Presence Theory was used to examine Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and texting. Undergraduate students (N = 352) were given a survey to assess how frequently they use social media, how intimate they think each platform is, and how lonely and happy they are. Perceived intimacy was found to mediate the ameliorating effects of social media use on loneliness and happiness. Frequency of social media use initially predicted decreased loneliness and increased happiness, but once perceived intimacy was factored in, it was a more significant predictor than frequency of use. The more one uses social media, the more he or she thinks they are a good way to connect with others (perceived intimacy), and the more one is likely to be happy and feel connected with others. Results and implications are discussed.


intimacy, social media, emotions, well-being, benefits

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