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The effect of anonymous computer-mediated communication on state anxiety: an experimental study

Littler, J., Haffey, A., Wake, S. and Dodd, H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1446-5338 (2020) The effect of anonymous computer-mediated communication on state anxiety: an experimental study. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking. ISSN 2152-2723

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0213

Abstract/Summary

This study examined the effect of anonymous computer mediated communication (CMC) on state anxiety, specifically focusing on whether the valence of the interaction affected state anxiety prior to completing an anxiety-inducing task. 62 female participants aged 18-25 were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: positive CMC, negative CMC and blog. Self-report measures of state anxiety were taken at: baseline; after participants had been given instructions about the anxiety-inducing task; after ten minutes of CMC/blog writing; and after the anxiety-inducing task had been completed. Results showed that participants in the positive CMC condition showed a significant and moderate decrease in anxiety following the CMC whereas those in the negative CMC condition showed a non-significant but moderate increase in anxiety following the CMC. Anxiety remained relatively unaffected by the blog condition. After completing the anxiety-inducing task there were no differences in anxiety scores between groups. The findings show that CMC can be beneficial for relieving state anxiety but that the valence of the communication is crucial. This has implications for advice and training given to those participating in and supporting CMC where mental health issues might be discussed

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:92375
Uncontrolled Keywords:Computer-mediated communication; anxiety; online; mental health; support.
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert

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