Student Loneliness: The Role of Social Media Through Life Transitions

Thomas, Lisa, Orme, Elizabeth and Kerrigan, Finola (2020) Student Loneliness: The Role of Social Media Through Life Transitions. Computers & Education, 146. p. 103754. ISSN 0360-1315

1-s2.0-S0360131519303070-main.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (702kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The move to university can be difficult for students- a transition often characterised by a risk of loneliness and poor mental health. Previous work highlights the important role social media can play in this transition. We report findings from a large-scale survey of 510 first year undergraduates across the UK, identifying factors that predict student loneliness, and exploring their social media use. Higher levels of social capital, induction satisfaction, and sense of community are significantly associated with lower levels of loneliness. Conversely, those reporting a more ‘liminal self’- the desire to edit and reinvent yourself online - experience greater loneliness- with an indirect relationship between online social information seeking and loneliness, through social capital. We surmise that being ‘true to yourself’ online is important when starting university, and that social media can be a useful tool in facilitating offline relationships and maintaining ties to old friends.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cultural and social implications, Media in education, Pedagogical issues, Post-secondary education, Social media
Subjects: C800 Psychology
G400 Computer Science
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 12:11
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 20:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics