Department

Communication Studies

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair

Faith E. Mullen

Primary Subject Area

Information Science; Mass Communications

Keywords

Facebook, Gender Differences, Self-Disclosure, Social Penetration, Undergraduates

Disciplines

Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Psychology

Abstract

Due to the popularity and role Facebook plays in society, the present study seeks to better understand why undergraduates disclose on Facebook and what they are willing to share. The research questions for the study include: RQ 1: Are undergraduate women, ages 18-23, or undergraduate men, ages 18-23, more likely to disclose personal information on Facebook?, RQ 2: Are undergraduate women, ages 18-23, or undergraduate men, ages 18-23, more likely to disclose contact information (e-mail address, phone number, address, instant message screen name) on Facebook?, and RQ 3: Are the reasons for engaging in self-disclosure different between undergraduate women, ages 18-23, and undergraduate men, ages 18-23? The sample consisted of 507 participants, 244 males and 263 females. The participants took a 5 part online survey that included closed-ended and open-ended questions. The results revealed that females were more likely to disclose personal information about friends, family, holidays, school, and religion. Men were more likely to disclose personal information about politics and sports. In regards to contact information, men were more likely than women to include their e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers. Overall, the results revealed that the reasons for engaging in disclosure were similar; however, a few differences emerged.