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Self-concept clarity and preference for online social interaction: implications for well-being and the role of employment status

Quinones-Garcia, Cristina and Kakabadse, Nada (2014). Self-concept clarity and preference for online social interaction: implications for well-being and the role of employment status. In: British Academy of Management (BAM 2014), 9-11 Sep 2014, Belfast.

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With the advances in mobile technology and the social pressures to stay online, our social interactions are increasingly shifting from the physical to the virtual space. Within this unique context often characterised by low reliance on visual cues, whether or not we can expect the the well-documented health benefits of traditional FtF social interactions is far from clear. There is however some agreement in that traditional FtF interactions are needed to complement the positive effects of virtual encounters. In contrast, a preference for online communication seems to be associated with a risk to develop a maladaptive relationship with the internet characterised by loss of control and conflict referred to as “Compulsive Internet Use” (CIU). In line with recent studies which suggest that risk of CIU can be found in healthy individuals, we moved beyond psychopathological models of vulnerability to CIU and; building on the person-environment fit perspective, we identified the personality trait (i.e. self-concept clarity) that makes individuals more attracted to the unique features of virtual communication. Furthermore, we test our model of vulnerability of CIU taking into consideration unemployment status, a life-changing event which eliminates a source of social support (peers and supervisors) thereby potentially increasing the salience of virtual worlds. We tested our model in a sample of British individuals (N=523) with approximately equal number of employed and unemployed. We confirmed that a lack of self-concept clarity predisposed individuals to CIU and that this was partially explained by their marked preference for online virtual interactions. We also confirmed that the impact of this preference for online interactions was far more negative for unemployed individuals. Interesting venues for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 The Authors
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for People and Organisations
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
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Item ID: 41358
Depositing User: Cristina Quinones
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 09:56
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 10:08
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