Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Donald Saklofske

Abstract

The objective of this study was to expand interpersonal theories of depression by incorporating online social behaviour. This study assessed the influence of Facebook reassurance seeking on concurrent depressive symptoms, as well as the moderating role of attachment anxiety in this relation. A sample of 458 undergraduates (68% female; mean age 18.54) completed self-report computer-based questionnaires of offline reassurance seeking, Facebook reassurance seeking, attachment style, and depression. Contrary to hypotheses, Facebook reassurance seeking was not associated with depressive symptoms. However, there was an interaction whereby, for those higher in attachment anxiety, more Facebook reassurance seeking was associated with lessened depressive symptoms. Findings indicate that reassurance seeking in the form of seeking “likes” may not be as harmful as offline reassurance seeking. Future studies may attempt to create online-equivalent measures of interpersonal vulnerabilities, and may include additional risk factors to understand how depressive interpersonal vulnerabilities are manifested online.


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