Qualitative Study of Using Online Social Network Sites (SNS) based on Attachment Styles in College Students

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assisstant Professor of Family Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Researcher in Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Considering the increasing tendency of people to access social network sites, the current study purposed to qualitatively investigate the amount, reasons, and perceived impacts of using social networks sites (SNS) based on attachment styles in college students. To this end, 200 students from three universities were selected by available sampling and asked to complete the adult attachment questionnaire. Thereafter, 36 students were classified into secure, ambivalent, or avoidant attachment style groups. Then, a 60-min interview was conducted with each participant to assess the amount, reasons for, and perceived impacts of different aspects of social network usage. Data w analyzed using the content analysis method. The results showed that although the amount of social network use was not different in the groups, the reasons for social network use differed. The reasons were categorized based on the facilities of SNS studied in this research. The main categories included leisure and entertainment, communication and interaction, research and learning, emotional and sexual needs, consumption and transaction. The results of using social networks were categorized under four positive and negative categories of personal, family, social, and educational outcomes. The perceptions of outcomes differed in the groups, and avoidant people reported fewer negative ones overall. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that individuals with different attachment styles utilize social networks in the same level and usually with similar reasons but different motives. The outcome of using social network sites might be different; further investigation is needed to explore these outcomes.


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