Current Research Project: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Internet Use/Online Communication on Subjective Well-Being

Conflicting results from several lines of research indicate that constantly available online communication can be both beneficial (e.g., Chan, 2015) and detrimental (e.g., Kross et al., 2013) for Internet users’ well-being. In our own work (e.g., Meier, Reinecke, & Meltzer, 2016; Reinecke & Oliver, 2017), we have often found such seemingly paradoxical findings that have raised the attention of researchers since the early days of the Internet (Kraut et al., 1998).

As the literature on Internet use/online communication and well-being is highly fragmented and spread across various fields of communication and technology research, psychology, and other (social) sciences, this meta-analysis aims at theoretically and empirically integrating the fast growing body of research. To tackle some of the inconsistencies found in previous work, we specifically focus our investigation on the concept of subjective well-being (SWB; Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999), assessed through life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect/depression.

Currently, we are contacting authors in this field to identify any eligible unpublished work (including submitted and in press studies, dissertations, theses, conference presentations, and other unpublished data).

If you have conducted or supervised any unpublished empirical research that includes at least one indicator of Internet use/online communication (e.g., intensity of Facebook usage, smartphone usage, time spent online) AND subjective well-being (e.g., depression, negative or positive affect, and life satisfaction), please contact us: meta-analysis@uni-mainz.de

We would very much like to include and cite your work in this meta-analysis. Therefore, any information from your studies than can help us compute correlations between Internet use/online communication and well-being is much appreciated.

The correlations can be computed from most other statistics you might have available, such as t-tests, ANOVA results, or raw means and standard deviations. We are also happy to compute any correlations ourselves, if you are willing to share the raw data with us. It goes without saying that we agree to delete this data file after computing the correlation(s). The same holds true for any unpublished manuscripts that include the relevant information.

If you are unsure whether your research is relevant to this meta-analysis or if you have any questions about this research project, please do not hesitate to contact us: meta-analysis@uni-mainz.de

References

Chan, M. (2015). Mobile phones and the good life: Examining the relationships among mobile use, social capital and subjective well-being. New Media & Society, 17(1), 96–113. doi:10.1177/1461444813516836

Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276–302.

Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukophadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist, 53(9), 1017–1031. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.53.9.1017

Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D. S., Lin, N.,. . . Sueur, C. (2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e69841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

Meier, A., Reinecke, L., & Meltzer, C. E. (2016). “Facebocrastination”? Predictors of using Facebook for procrastination and its effects on students’ well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 64, 65–76. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.06.011

Reinecke, L., & Oliver, M. B. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge handbook of media use and well-being: International perspectives on theory and research on positive media effects. New York: Routledge.

Funding

This research is supported by a grant from Forschungsschwerpunkt Medienkonvergenz [Research Center for Media Convergence] at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.