Finding the Others Like Me: Facebook Use and Invisible Minorities' Satisfaction With Social Support
Type of DegreeDissertation
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In the face of oppression, stigmatized minority individuals demonstrate strategies of resilience such as affiliation with a group of similar others for support and connection. Invisible minorities, however, may have difficulty finding similar others because of the lack of visibility of their identities and so may not benefit from the stress-buffering effects of group membership and connection that visible minority groups often enjoy. Online social networking sites could provide access for individuals who identify as invisible minorities to connect to similar others so that they might gain connection, support, and information. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between use of Facebook to connect with similar others and satisfaction with social support for individuals identifying with a variety of invisible minority groups using hierarchical regression. Participants included 242 individuals who identified with one or more of a variety of invisible minority identities. Results did not support a significant relationship between use of Facebook to connect with similar others and satisfaction with social support, but did show a relationship between general social support and satisfaction with social support. Additionally, results did not show that factors such as outness, self-esteem, depression, or anxiety, moderated the relationship between use of Facebook to connect with similar others and satisfaction with social support, however, significant relationships between self-esteem, depression, and anxiety with satisfaction with social support were found. Finally, results indicated that engagement in initiating and information-seeking behavior on Facebook with similar others was associated with Facebook bridging social capital.