Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joseph C. Miller


Existing research on use of social networking sites (SNSs) suggests that the hours of use and the impact of use on mood is staggering, especially among the university population. The present study builds off of an exploratory analysis of factors that influence individuals' usage of SNSs. In the initial study female university students demonstrated a clearer structure of such factors than did male university students. The present study sought to replicate the factor structure of these influences on SNS use. Existing research has explored little in terms of the relationship between personality factors and SNS use. The extant literature is limited to the &ldquo Big Five &rdquo personality traits. Even fewer studies look at mental health constructs such as depression and anxiety and their roles in determining individuals' motivations for SNS use. The present study used both confirmatory and exploratory factor analysis to look for trends in the data related to factors influencing SNS use and personality and mental health construct variables found on the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). Chi square analyses, ANOVAs, and correlations were run to examine the relationships between a variety of variables related to SNS use. Results indicated a successful replication of previous findings that female university students use SNSs to: 1) maintain contact with others, 2) socially compare themselves to others, 3) gather information about others, 4) regulate negative emotions, and 5) avoid &ldquo real &ndash life &rdquo social discomfort. Additionally, a number of interesting relationships were found between demographic variables, characteristics of SNS use, outcomes of pathological SNS use, factors influencing SNS use, and personality/mental health construct variables.