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Electronic communication use and socio-emotional well-being among military youth

APA Citation:

Landers-Potts, M. A., O’Neal, C. W., & Mancini, J. A. (2017). Electronic communication use and socio-emotional well-being among military youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 3266-3277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0833-2

Abstract Created by REACH:

E-communication (i.e., electronic communication) can help military adolescents stay connected to their social networks despite frequent transitions. Despite its promise, however, research is mixed on the connection between e-communication and adolescents’ peer social relationships. Using survey data from adolescents (n = 1036) aged 11-18 who had at least one active-duty military parent, this study examined the associations between elements of e-communication (particularly frequency of e-communication use and using e-communication to make new friends), opportunities for nurturance (i.e., having the opportunity to be supportive of others), and social isolation for adolescents in military families. Findings suggest that e-communication may be a useful way for adolescents in military families to create and maintain high-quality friendships and build a sense of social purpose.



Branch of Service:


Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Child of a service member or veteran


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study


Landers-Potts, Melissa A., O'Neal, Catherine W., Mancini, Jay A.


The authors seek to investigate the relationship between electronic-communication (e-communication) use and social isolation for adolescents age 11–18 in the context of military family life, with a specific focus on relationship function provided by e-communication. Self-efficacy, developmental stage (early or middle/late adolescence), sex, and military contextual factors (parents’ military rank, number of school changes and parent deployment) on social benefits and social isolation were controls in the model. Data from a computer survey administered to adolescents (N = 1036) who had at least one active-duty military parent at five US Army installations in the US and Western Europe were analyzed using a path analysis model. Findings suggest that using e-communication to establish new relationships may be strategic for military youth, who experience many geographic relocations and school changes, in terms of creating social benefits (opportunity for nurturance). On the other hand, spending large amounts of time using e-communication may impede the establishment of nurturing relationships with others and ultimately may be linked to social isolation. Within the model, significant moderational effects related to self-efficacy, sex of the adolescent and parents’ military rank were found. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:


Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia, MALP
Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia, CWO
Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia, JAM


military youth, electronic communication, socio-emotional well-being, social isolation, relationships

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  November 2019

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