The Role of Online Social Identity in the Relationship between Alcohol-Related Content on Social Networking Sites and Adolescent Alcohol Use

Karlee J. Pegg, Alexander W. O'Donnell, Girish Lala, Bonnie L. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Social networking sites (SNSs) are social platforms that facilitate communication. For adolescents, peers play a crucial role in constructing the self online through displays of group norms on SNSs. The current study investigated the role of online social identity (OSI) in the relationship between adolescent exposure to alcohol-related content posted by peers on SNSs and alcohol use. In a sample (N = 929) of Australian adolescents (Age M = 17.25, SD = 0.31) higher levels of exposure to alcohol-related content on SNSs was associated with higher levels of alcohol use. Importantly, the association was stronger when the participants reported higher OSI particularly when also reporting low or moderate amount of time spent on SNS. The findings can be explained by social identity literature that demonstrates individuals align their behaviors with other members of their social group to demonstrate, enact, and maintain social identity. The results of this study reflect the importance of considering the construction of the "self" through online and offline constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • alcohol use
  • Online social identity
  • social networking sites

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