Facebook and Face-to-Face: Examining the Short- and Long-Term Reciprocal Effects of Interactions, Perceived Social Support, and Depression among International Students


We investigated the proposition that among international students, face-to-face (FtF) interaction with the host-country network, and Facebook interaction with the host- and the home-country networks predict perceived social support, which, in turn, predicts psychological adjustment. We tested the model using cross-lagged and non-lagged reciprocal effects path analyses on three-wave panel data gathered via online surveys. The results indicated that whereas FtF interaction with the host-country increased perceived social support in the short-term, Facebook interaction with the host-country lowered perceived social support in the long-term. Perceived social support increased Facebook interaction with the host-country both in the short- and the long-term. At the same time, perceived social support, in the long-term, decreased depressive symptoms. In the short-term, perceived social support and depressive symptoms negatively reinforced each other. Our longitudinal study contributes to existing literature by elucidating the complex interplay of communication channels and their implications on international students’ experiences.

In: JOURNAL OF COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION, (24), 2, pp. 73-89, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcmc/zmy025