A mixed-methods analysis of the effects of Facebook-based social support on health across Australian metropolitan and regional communities: does social media go the distance?

PhD Thesis


Gilmour, John. 2020. A mixed-methods analysis of the effects of Facebook-based social support on health across Australian metropolitan and regional communities: does social media go the distance? PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

A mixed-methods analysis of the effects of Facebook-based social support on health across Australian metropolitan and regional communities: does social media go the distance?

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorGilmour, John
SupervisorBrownlow, Charlotte
Machin, Tanya
Jeffries, Carla
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages245
Year2020
Abstract

Facebook is a feature in contemporary life and can provide feelings of social support, which buffer the relationship between life stress and physical and mental health outcomes. It has been hypothesised that geographically-diverse communities may use Facebook to compensate for limited opportunities to access face-to-face social support. This thesis examines the role of Facebook-based social support on physical and mental health concerns for both regional and metropolitan Australians through a sequential mixed methods approach, and is presented as a thesis by publication. Four papers were submitted to peer-reviewed journals based on the research conducted for this thesis. These included a systematic review of the Facebook-based social support literature, two quantitative papers examining the effects of Facebook-social support on health across two samples of metropolitan and regional Australians, and a qualitative paper exploring the thoughts and feelings of regional Australians towards Facebook. The systematic literature review focused on 27 studies which examined the effects of Facebook-based social support on mental and physical health outcomes. The results of the systematic literature review found that Facebook-based social support improved general physical and mental health, as well as well-being. It was also found to reduce symptomology associated with mental illness, including depression, anxiety, online victimisation, and loneliness. The quantitative papers aimed to evaluate Facebook-based social in the context of the two main models of social support (the buffering hypothesis and the direct effect hypothesis). These papers drew on a sample of regional (n = 162) and metropolitan (n = 212) Facebook users. The results of the quantitative papers showed that greater levels of Facebook-based social support predicted lower levels of health concerns and mental distress in the metropolitan-based sample. No association between Facebook-based social support and health concerns was found in the regional sample. The qualitative paper focused on exploring the thoughts and feelings of fifteen regionally-based Australian Facebook users on Facebook and its use in their communities. The themes identified in the qualitative paper showed that regional Australians strongly engaged with Facebook as a communication utility and a local message board. The interviewees reported that Facebook was important to maintain social connections, however face-to-face social interactions were more meaningful. These findings show that the use of Facebook as a mechanism for social support, and its effects on health, vary across geographical locations, and appears to be mainly found in a metropolitan population. This research also shows that, while metropolitan users draw on Facebook-based social networks for social support, regionally-based users engage with Facebook as a communication utility rather than a social networking site. This difference might explain the difference in effects of Facebook-based social support on health outcomes across the two populations. This research highlights the need for further research into social media engagement across geographically diverse populations to establish methods of health-improving engagement with Facebook.

KeywordsFacebook, social support, regional health, mental health, social media
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520501. Community psychology
520505. Social psychology
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Psychology and Counselling
Permalink -

https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q603v/a-mixed-methods-analysis-of-the-effects-of-facebook-based-social-support-on-health-across-australian-metropolitan-and-regional-communities-does-social-media-go-the-distance

Download files


Published Version
JGilmour_Thesis_u1024651_Final.pdf
File access level: Anyone

  • 183
    total views
  • 179
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Common Client Issues in Counselling: An Australian Perspective
Beel, Nathan, Chinchen, Christine, Machin, Tanya, du Plessis, Carol, Mullens, Amy B., Rees, Bronwyn, Purnell-Webb, Trish, Brown, Samantha, Murray, Judith, Ayre, Kay, Gilmour, John, Falcon, John, Flanagan, John, Brown, James, Krishnamoorthy, Govind, Bryce, India, Malengret, Claire, Dall'Osto, Claire and King, Deborah. Beel, Nathan, Chinchen, Christine, Machin, Tanya and du Plessis, Carol (ed.) 2023. Common Client Issues in Counselling: An Australian Perspective . University of Southern Queensland.
Trauma in Adults
Mullens, Amy B., Krishnamoorthy, Govind, Gilmour, John and Bryce, India. 2023. "Trauma in Adults." Beel, Nathan, Chinchen, Christine, Machin, Tanya and du Plessis, Carol (ed.) Common Client Issues in Counselling: An Australian Perspective. Australia. University of Southern Queensland. pp. 171-188
Place identity and careers in regional Australia
McIlveen, Peter, Alchin, Carolyn, Hoare, P. Nancey, Bowman, Sarah, Harris, Rebecca, Gotting, Geraldine, Gilmour, John, Perera, Harsha N., Beccaria, Lisa, Kossen, Chris, Cavaye, Jim, Creed, Allison and McDonald, Nicole. 2022. "Place identity and careers in regional Australia." Australian Journal of Career Development. 31 (1), pp. 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1177/10384162221085807
Statistics for Research Students: An Open Access Resource with Self-Tests and Illustrative Examples
Fein, Erich C., Gilmour, John, Machin, Tanya and Hendry, Liam. 2022. Statistics for Research Students: An Open Access Resource with Self-Tests and Illustrative Examples. Australia. University of Southern Queensland.
Social Media and Technology Across the Lifespan
Machin, Tanya, Brownlow, Charlotte, Abel, Susan and Gilmour, John. Machin, Tanya, Brownlow, Charlotte, Abel, Susan and Gilmour, John (ed.) 2022. Social Media and Technology Across the Lifespan. Cham, Switzerland. Palgrave Macmillan.
Paediatric post-discharge pain and parent perceptions of support from an Australian nurse practitioner led acute pain service
Forster, Elizabeth M., Kotzur, Catherine, Richards, Julianne and Gilmour, John. 2022. "Paediatric post-discharge pain and parent perceptions of support from an Australian nurse practitioner led acute pain service." Journal of Child Health Care. 26 (3), pp. 394-406. https://doi.org/10.1177/13674935211014742
The Effects of Facebook-based Social Support on Health Across Metropolitan and Regional Australians
Gilmour, John, Jeffries, Carla, Machin, Tanya and Brownlow, Charlotte. 2022. "The Effects of Facebook-based Social Support on Health Across Metropolitan and Regional Australians." Machin, Tanya, Brownlow, Charlotte, Abel, Susan and Gilmour, John (ed.) Social Media and Technology Across the Lifespan. Cham, Switzerland. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 97-114
Sailing for Resilience: a Pilot Evaluation of Nature Therapy Program for Stress and Anxiety
Fein, Erich C., Tyquin, Dana, Mullens, Amy, Goldwater, Aaron and Gilmour, John. 2019. "Sailing for Resilience: a Pilot Evaluation of Nature Therapy Program for Stress and Anxiety." 2019 Australian Psychological Society College of Health Psychologists Conference. Adelaide, Australia 25 - 27 Apr 2019 Melbourne, Australia.
Facebook-Based Social Support and Health: A Systematic Review
Gilmour, John, Machin, Tanya, Brownlow, Charlotte, Jeffries, Carla, Gilmour, John, Machin, Tanya, Brownlow, Charlotte and Jeffries, Carla. 2020. Facebook-Based Social Support and Health: A Systematic Review. United States. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000246