Does using the Internet make people more satisfied with their lives? The effects of the Internet on college students' school life satisfaction

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Jun;11(3):310-20. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0040.

Abstract

This research examined whether the Internet improves life satisfaction. The study surveyed 195 college students, and a structural model was built to explain effects of the Internet on school life satisfaction using a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In line with social cognitive theory and literature on social effects of the Internet, current data supported the hypotheses that Internet use, perceived online social support, and online social self-efficacy had direct positive impacts on school life satisfaction. Offline extroversion, online extroversion, online social self-efficacy, and online social outcome expectations influenced school life satisfaction indirectly: offline extroversion acted through social online self-efficacy and online extroversion; online social self-efficacy acted through online extroversion, online social outcome expectations, and perceived online social support; online extroversion acted through online social outcome expectations; online social outcome expectations acted through perceived online social support and Internet use. Contrary to our hypothesis, however, the path from online social outcome expectations to school life satisfaction was negative. Departing from a real-life personal characteristic (offline extroversion), the structural model represents the interactions between personal factors (social self-efficacy, social outcome expectations, social support beliefs), behavior (Internet use), and environment (the Internet) and the processes through which these interactions influence people's judgment of their life satisfaction. This study established a possible causal mechanism that links life online to an indicator of psychological well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Culture
  • Data Collection
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology*