The Buffer Effect of Receiving Social Support on SNS Exhaustion and SNS Satisfaction: An Exploratory Study of the Lonely and Emotionally Unstable

Lo, Janice
Guo, Chengqi
Bradley, Bree
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Popular press reports that using social networking sites (SNSs) can cause increased stress levels in individuals. Although academic literature has attempted to explain the technostress related to social media, much remains unclear how feelings of being drained from SNS activities can be alleviated. This exploratory study draws upon the buffer effect of social support theory and tests it in the context of SNS. We analyze users who experience loneliness and emotional instability to better understand their psychological responses to social overload and receiving social support in terms of effects on SNS satisfaction, exhaustion, and discontinuous usage intention. Data from more than 1,000 users support our hypotheses that receiving social support is significantly related to SNS exhaustion and satisfaction. Interestingly, contrary to prior studies, the relationship between social overload and SNS satisfaction is found to be significantly positive for emotionally unstable users. Implications for research and practice are provided.
Social Media and Communities, Social media discontinuous usage, disconnect Facebook, social overload stress, receiving social support, loneliness and emotional instability
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