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Keywords:

  • online communication;
  • offline communication;
  • social capital;
  • loneliness;
  • social support;
  • time displacement;
  • Structural Equations Modeling

This study sets out to identify relations between people's media use, network capital as a resource, and loneliness. Unlike many studies on this topic, this study aimed to test hypotheses on a national sample, and used insights from empirical research and theoretical notions from different research areas. Data collected via telephone interviews in 2005 were analyzed with Structural Equation Modeling. The assumption that traditional and new media destroy social capital is not supported empirically. Moreover, online network capital augments offline network capital and web surfing coincides with more online socializing. However, this additional capital appears not to have benefits in terms of social support and loneliness. The reverse causal relation between loneliness and media use also could not be established.