A1 Journal article (refereed)
Adolescents’ online communication and well-being : Findings from the 2018 health behavior in school-aged children (HBSC) study (2022)

Lyyra, N., Junttila, N., Gustafsson, J., Lahti, H., & Paakkari, L. (2022). Adolescents’ online communication and well-being : Findings from the 2018 health behavior in school-aged children (HBSC) study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, Article 976404. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.976404

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lyyra, Nelli; Junttila, Niina; Gustafsson, Jasmine; Lahti, Henri; Paakkari, Leena

Journal or series: Frontiers in Psychiatry

eISSN: 1664-0640

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 06/10/2022

Volume: 13

Article number: 976404

Publisher: Frontiers Media SA

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.976404

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83517


Background: Digital transformation has influenced all areas of adolescents’ lives, including the ways adolescents maintain friendships. Interpersonal communication is one of the most common activities while online. Online communication may provide adolescents with opportunities to expand their social contacts, but these encounters can be risky, especially when the communication is with unknown people on the internet. This study examined the associations between different forms of online communication behavior and well-being.

Materials and methods: Data were collected from Finnish adolescents as part of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study in 2018. The participants were 3,140 Finnish adolescents aged 11–15 years. Descriptive analyses were used to examine the frequency of different forms of online communication behaviors. The associations between online communications and individual factors were analyzed using the X2 test and 95% confidence intervals. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the extent to which adolescents’ online communication behavior explained the variance in adolescents’ well-being indicators.

Results: Overall, 60% of the adolescents reported communicating intensively with close friends, with higher rates of intensive communication reported by girls, higher age groups, and the high health literacy group. 22% of adolescents reported intensive communication with friends they got to know through the internet (online friends), while intensive online communication with unknown people was reported by 13% of adolescents. Overall, around one-fourth of adolescents preferred sharing personal matters online rather than in face-to-face encounters, and 10% of adolescents reported using the internet daily to get to know new people, and to look for like-minded company. The SEM analysis showed that keeping online contact with offline friends was linked to a positive outcome in all the measured well-being indicators; however, intensive communication with people contacted only online (online friends and unknown people) was negatively associated with well-being indicators (lower self-rated health, lower life satisfaction, higher loneliness, and problematic social media use).

Conclusion: Both positive and negative associations were observed between online communication and well-being, depending on the target and content of the communication. The results indicate that online communication has benefits for adolescents who have more offline social life. Overall, one should ensure that the impact of interventions is proportionately greater for adolescents at the bottom end of the health gradient.

Keywords: young people; network communication; well-being; health; loneliness; online communities; social relations; social media

Free keywords: online communication; well-being; health; loneliness; social media; adolescence

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 08:51