Social Indicators Research

, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 375–389 | Cite as

Internet Communication Versus Face-to-face Interaction in Quality of Life

  • Paul S. N. Lee
  • Louis Leung
  • Venhwei Lo
  • Chengyu Xiong
  • Tingjun Wu


This study seeks to understand the role of the Internet in quality of life (QoL). Specifically, it examines the question of whether Internet communication serves, like face-to-face interactions, to enhance quality of life. It is hypothesized that the use of the Internet for interpersonal communication can improve quality of life among Internet users, just like face-to-face communication in everyday life. Sample survey data were collected in four Chinese cities, namely Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, and Wuhan, to serve as replicates to test the hypothesis. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) of Diener (1984) was used to measure quality of life in the four cities. It was found that contrary to our expectation, Internet communication cannot predict quality of life while face-to-face communication with friends and family members can. The result was the same across the four Chinese cities. Possible reasons for this finding are examined and discussed.


Quality of life Internet communication Interpersonal relationship Satisfaction with life Social support Social interactions 



Part of this research was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (RGC Ref: CUHK 4315/01H). The support from the Centre for Quality of Life at the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul S. N. Lee
    • 1
  • Louis Leung
    • 1
  • Venhwei Lo
    • 1
  • Chengyu Xiong
    • 2
  • Tingjun Wu
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Journalism and CommunicationThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.School of CommunicationTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Journalism and CommunicationHuazhong University of Science & TechnologyWuhanChina

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