Social capital and subjective well-being: The mediating role of social networking sites

  • Li-Ann Hwang Monash University Malaysia
  • Jason Wei Jian Ng
  • Santha Vaithilingam
Keywords: social networking sites, Facebook, mediation analysis, social capital, subjective well-being, university students

Abstract

Many studies have examined the separate impacts of social capital (bonding and bridging) and the use of social networking sites (SNSs) on subjective well-being (SWB). However, few studies address the mediating role that SNS use has on the relationship between social capital and SWB. The current study addresses this research gap, examining the extent to which SNS use mediates the relationship between social capital and SWB. Moreover, this study theorizes SNS use to be a behavioural outcome of social capital, as opposed to the widespread view that SNSs are a tool to generate social capital. Using primary data from a sample of 307 undergraduate students, the partial least squares structural equation modelling technique was used to analyze the data via a sequential mediating mechanism. The findings highlight the importance of the utilitarian use of SNS in mediating the relationship between bridging social capital and SWB. On the other hand, the direct effect of bonding social capital on SWB was found to be stronger than the indirect effects, indicating that SNS use is not crucial in mediating this particular relationship. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are subsequently discussed.

Author Biographies

Jason Wei Jian Ng

Senior Lecturer with the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics in the School of Business at Monash University Malaysia

Santha Vaithilingam

Associate Professor at Monash University Malaysia and is head of the Econometrics and Business Statistics Department in the School of Business

Published
2019-10-01
How to Cite
Hwang, L.-A., Ng, J. W. J., & Vaithilingam, S. (2019). Social capital and subjective well-being: The mediating role of social networking sites. First Monday, 24(10). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i10.10130