Alumna, Faculty Member Co-Author Article about Facebook

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 22, 2011 – Dr. Kirsten Li-Barber, associate professor of psychology at High Point University, recently co-authored an article with Whitney Special (class of 2008) which was published in the November issue of the “Computers in Human Behavior” journal.

The article, titled “Self Disclosure and Student Satisfaction with Facebook,” studied how students’ satisfaction with Facebook is related to their willingness to disclose personal information about themselves on their Web pages. The research focused on the possible social and psychological gains associated with having a Facebook page.

Among the results, Special and Li-Barber found that male participants are more likely to include personal information on their Facebook pages, and have lower privacy settings compared to females. They also found that the length of time spent on Facebook updating and browsing is associated with higher levels of satisfaction with Facebook. In addition, people who use Facebook as a means of entertainment, but not as a means of relationship maintenance, are more satisfied with Facebook.

Special holds a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology from HPU. She was a senior when Li-Barber first joined the psychology department, and she was looking for a faculty member to help her continue her research project from a Research Methods course. The two continued to work together, and the project was accepted for presentation at the American Psychological Association research conference in 2009. They then began preparing the research for publication.

Dr. Li-Barber’s classes in developmental psychology integrate discussion of social and emotional development of adolescents and young adults with discussion of current research related to more specific topics within these domains. Studies like this one provide a more current understanding of how the development of online social networking sties have affected how adolescents and young adults’ efforts to maintain long-distance relationships with friends and family.

Special is currently applying to graduate programs in media communications.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. HPU was selected in the 2010-2011 list of “Colleges of Distinction,” as well as one of the top green schools in the country by the Sierra Club. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 10 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at

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Pam Haynes

Communication Specialist


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