Date of Award

12-21-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lynda M. Federoff, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gordon Thornton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dasen Luo, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of the use of social networking sites (in this case MySpace.com) in helping grieving individuals adjust to bereavement. A questionnaire was completed by 106 college students who had experienced the death of a friend or loved one and also were aware of the deceased person having a personal MySpace page, memorial page, or both. Participants completed the Hogan Grief Reaction Checklist, a measure of adjustment to bereavement, and answered questions regarding activities in which they had engaged to move them forward in their grief, such as funerals and online activities (Bereaved Activities Questionnaire, Revised). Results indicated that, although participants thought their online activities were helpful and attributed many positive outcomes to expressing their grief on social networking sites, there was no relation between use of the sites and grief adjustment scores. It appeared that this sample was not in great distress and had, in many ways, already adjusted well to bereavement. Further research should investigate the extent to which using social networking sites can be helpful for individuals who are known to be in distress.

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