دلایل استفاده از اینترنت و اضطراب اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32918||2005||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||4589 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 39, Issue 5, October 2005, Pages 949–958
A reasons for Internet Use Questionnaire was developed to examine the relationship between internet use, social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. Research suggests that socially anxious individuals may find it easier to interact online where anonymity can be maintained rather than engage in face to face interaction where being observed by others might induce a fear of negative evaluation. In line with the self-regulation model, it was hypothesised that social anxiety, low ego strength, anxiety and depression, would be related to use of the internet to cope with social fears. The results were partially in line with the hypothesis. Implications of these findings are discussed.
1.1. Social anxiety Social anxiety has variously been referred to as both shyness and social phobia. Social phobia, (also known as social anxiety disorder) is at the more extreme end of the continuum of social anxiety and ‘includes a collation of symptoms which unlike shyness can vary in severity throughout one’s life’: these symptoms are only elicited in certain social situations (Leary, 1983a, p. 14). In contrast, shyness while at the less severe end of the social anxiety continuum is ‘more likely to be a lifelong characteristic of an individual’s temperament which is experienced in every social occurrence’ (Leary, 1983a, p. 23; Lecrubier et al., 2000, p. 6). At a cognitive level, while shy individuals are more open to social cues enabling them to challenge their social fears, individuals who suffer from social phobia are more likely to focus on their inner turmoil missing social cues (Heimberg, Liebowitz, Hope, & Schneier, 1995). Social anxiety then lies on a continuum between shyness and social phobia. As such it contains features of both and can be defined as ‘a state of anxiety resulting from the prospect or presence of interpersonal evaluation in real or imagined social settings’ (Leary, 1983b, p. 67). Social anxiety is often associated with general anxiety and depression (Amies et al., 1983, Herbert et al., 1992, Kushner et al., 1990, Lecrubier et al., 2000 and Wells et al., 1994) which in turn may negatively influence ability to cope in social interactions. In relation to this it has been argued that socially anxious individuals may use the internet as a medium to regulate their social fears and related distress, particularly loneliness, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Caplan, 2002, La Rose et al., 2003, Morahan-Martin and Schumacher, 2003 and Shaw and Grant, 2002). 1.2. Internet use and social anxiety The internet may well fulfil social needs for some who have particular difficulty establishing social relationships, thus aiding social connectedness and providing a sense of belongingness (McKenna and Bargh, 1999, Roberts et al., 2000 and Shepherd and Edelmann, 2001). By providing anonymity the internet provides a forum where it is possible to be less inhibited and intimidated (Grayson and Schwartz, 2000, Stritzke et al., 2004 and Walther, 1996). In this context, Siegel, Dubrovsky, Kiesler, and McGuire (1986) report that cyberspace communication alleviates social rejection. Thus, evidence suggests that those who feel less comfortable interacting face to face tend to use the internet more for social interaction while those who feel more comfortable with offline interaction tend to use the internet more for informational searches (Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000). This is consistent with Hamburger and Ben-Artzi’s (2000) suggestion that women who are introverted and self-conscious will find social contact via the internet less socially distressing and Caplan’s (2002) comment that those who are shy and low in self-esteem may find social benefits as well as a sense of social control from the internet. Many of the studies in this area have been conducted with university students, in part because of their widespread use of the internet as a social tool; indeed such use among students is increasing (Scherer, 1997). In addition, a number of studies have found a high prevalence of social anxiety among university students who may then turn to the internet as a way of regulating, challenging, or escaping their social fears (Beidel et al., 1989 and Turner et al., 1991). For example, Davis, Smith, Rodrique, and Pulvers (1999, p.259) cite one university student as commenting, “People will only date me over the internet” while Greenfield (1999, p. 83) quotes one university student as stating: “I’m shy in social situations, but am more open on the net, in chat rooms. I’m shy about approaching people at a party or in a large group, for example, but not about talking to people in chat rooms”. 1.3. Self-regulation model—a contemporary psychodynamic perspective The fact that specific services on the internet may help individuals who are socially anxious to cope with their anxiety and associated emotional difficulties can be related to the self-medication hypothesis and self-regulation theory derived from it. (Khantzian, 1999). The self-medication model posits that those who lack robust ego structures did not have adequate nurturance in early childhood from their parents or caretakers. They may then be more vulnerable to develop psychopathology finding it difficult to cope with affect, self-esteem, relationships, and self-care. In such an instance, external relief may be sought, in the inappropriate use or over use of alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, exercise, and eating. However, Khantzian (1999) later observed that individuals who were in treatment for alcohol or cocaine demonstrated more resilient egos and less psychopathology than individuals treated in a methadone clinic. He, therefore, proposed the term, ‘self-regulation disorder’ to describe individuals who were not necessarily either addicted to a particular behaviour or substance or suffering from psychopathology, but who found it difficult to regulate relationships, affect, or self-esteem and who relied on substances or specific behaviours as an attempt to regulate the self (Khantzian, 1999). Ego strength, thus serves a protective role in relation to preservation of self-view and self-worth (Greenberg et al., 1992). In theory, the self-regulation model based upon a contemporary psychodynamic framework is one psychological explanation for self-regulation failure. There have been a number of empirical studies examining the links between self-medication and failures in self-regulation primarily in relation to alcohol, although the evidence has been mixed (Goldenberg et al., 1995, Quitkin et al., 1972 and Schneier et al., 1989). However, Carrigan and Randall (2003) conclude from an extensive literature review of self-medication and social phobia that alcohol is used by such individuals in an attempt to relieve their social anxiety. However, whether or not such attempts were successful in actually relieving social anxiety remains uncertain. There is currently limited research examining the self-regulation model in relation to social motives for internet use. However, in relation to their social learning based self-regulation model, La Rose et al. (2003, p. 233) suggest that ‘deficient self-regulation begins by consciously using the media to relieve boredom, lessen loneliness, “pass time”, engage in parasocial interaction, or seek validity of social identity’. Drawing from these suppositions, it is likely that individuals with social anxiety and low ego strength would be more likely to use the internet as a medium for self-regulation. On the basis of the above research and theoretical suppositions, the central aim of the current study is to explore social anxiety and internet use in relation to regulation of social fears. In line with the self-regulation model, it is hypothesised that high social anxiety will be associated with low ego strength as well as greater scores on the internet. General anxiety and depression scores will influence these relationships.