Date

6-2015

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Rebecca S. Harrison

Keywords

digital health and wellness, Facebook, self-esteem, teens and technology

Disciplines

Education | Educational Psychology | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Social Media

Abstract

This phenomenological study investigated positive and negative Facebook messages from female friends to middle school girls and the multi-dimensional effect on self-esteem. This study also examined what role these messages play in female friendships. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit nine participants, 13 years old, the minimum age to have a Facebook account or 14 years old, in the 7th or 8th grade in the South Atlantic region of the United States. Gilligan's theory of moral development underpinned this study. Data collection included a descriptive survey, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, semi-structured interviews, journals, and site artifacts. The questions framing the research: (1) RQ 1: How do middle school girls describe their experiences with Facebook messages they receive from female friends? (b) RQ 2. How do participants' perceptions of positive and negative Facebook messages from female friends impact, if at all, their self-esteem? (c) RQ 3. How do participants' perceptions of positive and negative messages from female friends impact, if at all, their friendships? The data was analyzed using Ryan and Bernard's eight techniques and the PANAS-X as major guidelines. The findings showed that positive and negative Facebook messages from female friends to middle school girls can have a positive and negative multi-dimensional effect on self-esteem and play a role in their friendships. This study fills a gap in the literature regarding qualitative research on teens and technology. Hence, this study can benefit future research, encourage education, and provide an adventure of middle school girls' experiences with Facebook and friendships. Recommendations have been made for those concerned with the overall, health and well-being of adolescent girls.