Online/offline self-disclosure to offline friends and relational outcomes in a diary study: The moderating role of self‐esteem and relational closeness

Man Wai LI, Qilin CHEN, Haojie GAO, Wen-Qiao LI, Kenichi ITO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Previous work suggests that the experiences of online and offline self-disclosure are heterogeneous among individuals. Yet little work has been done to identify the moderating role of individual characteristics and pre-existing relationship characteristics on the diverse relational outcomes. The present study using a 7-day diary design examined whether individuals' self-esteem level and relational closeness would moderate the relationships between online and offline self-disclosure to offline friends and two relational outcomes, that is, relationship satisfaction and trust in friendships. The analyses on 686 diary responses from 98 participants revealed that offline self-disclosure generally predicted greater relationship satisfaction and trust in friendships, whereas the role of online self-disclosure was not statistically significant. More importantly, self-esteem moderated the pattern associated with offline self‐disclosure but not that with online self-disclosure. Specifically, offline self-disclosure predicted greater benefits to people with lower self-esteem relative to people with higher self-esteem. Moreover, pre‐existing relational closeness moderated the relationship between offline self-disclosure and trust in friendships such that casual friendships benefited more from offline self-disclosure than close friendships did. The present study highlights the importance of personal characteristics and relationship characteristics in understanding the heterogeneous relational influence of different communication modes. Copyright © 2020 International Union of Psychological Science.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Early online dateMay 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2020

Citation

Li, L. M. W., Chen, Q., Gao, H., Li, W.-Q., & Ito, K. (2020). Online/offline self-disclosure to offline friends and relational outcomes in a diary study: The moderating role of self-esteem and relational closeness. International Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12684

Keywords

  • Online self-disclosure
  • Offline self-disclosure
  • Self-esteem
  • Relational outcomes
  • Relational closeness

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