, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 215-226

The development of Internet use for communication among undergraduate students: a multilevel analysis

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Abstract

As few studies utilized longitudinal design to examine the development of Internet use for communication, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of gender and initial Internet use for communication on subsequent use. The study sample was 280 undergraduate students who were assessed at five time points. Hierarchical linear models were used to analyze longitudinal data regarding the development of three Internet mediums, email, instant messaging, and chat. The negative correlation between initial status and growth rate demonstrated that students using one particular medium relatively heavily tended to grow slower, and thus students with low initial use of a medium increased their use of that medium faster and thus closed the gap between students with low and high initial status. Findings about the use of a certain medium on the use of others were mixed with four models supporting neither displacement nor augmentation hypothesis and two remaining models supporting the displacement hypothesis.