Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Communication and Information

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Elisia Cohen

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Savage

Abstract

Social networking sites (SNSs) are an increasingly popular channel for communication among college students. Often students disclose more freely via social networking sites than they would in other situations. These disclosures commonly include information about engaging in risky health behaviors (e.g., binge drinking). Study 1 examined students’ impression management goals and self-presentation tactics specifically related to self-disclosures of drinking behavior on SNSs. Findings suggest that students use differing self-presentation tactics across various SNSs in order to achieve their impression management goals and to avoid consequences associated with disclosing about risky health behaviors to certain audiences. Study 2 sought to develop and measure SNS communication about alcohol related activities (SNCAA). It used the theory of normative social behavior as framework for investigating and predicting SNCAA. Additional variables that predict SNCAA were also identified. Findings demonstrate partial fit of the TNSB as a framework for explaining SNCAA. The overarching results of this project suggest a need for interventions aimed at reducing students’ SNCAA as well as increasing their overall knowledge about privacy and safety online.