Schönenborn, B., Henninger, M., Klingenhäger, S. & Sindermann, P. (2022). Online Social Capital of Students - How to cultivate Social Capital in times of COVID-19, Minneapolis.
Abstract Posterpräsentation auf der APA Convention in Minneapolis.
The present study deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated social restrictions. Everyday social life hardly takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining private social contacts is hardly possible. Due to the limitations in the analogue world, forms of communication and interaction are shifting in digital spaces (Bitkom, 2020). In order to examine these changes more closely from a scientific point of view, the construct of social capital (Coleman, 1988) is used. At the individual level, social capital refers to the individual and their personal network. It is about the extent to which individuals interact in social relationships and how they can use the interwoven support for themselves (Lin, 1999). If social capital is viewed from the perspective of developmental psychology, the literature indicates, that social relationships are important for young adults in order to develop further not only in the analogue world, but also in the digital space (Krampen & Reichle, 2008). With reference to the construct of social capital, there arises the question whether there is a difference between offline an online social capital and whether social media can play a compensatory role in maintaining friendships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the study addresses the definitional shortcomings regarding the constructs of offline and online social capital. The assumption is made that the two forms of social capital show conceptual similarities, but also differences. The study aims to determine how social capital can be cultivated using social media under pandemic conditions. 715 students from five Universities of Education in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) participated in the cross-sectional study. The survey was based on the Resource Generator (van der Gaag & Snijders, 2005) and the Internet Social Capital Scale (Williams, 2006). The results indicate that the maintenance of social capital depends, among other things, on communication activities in social media. The conceptual assumptions about online social capital, also checked in the study, can be maintained.