Social Emotional Support on One-on-One and Group Family WhatsApp. Do Gender Differences Exist?
Katzman Bat, Niva Dolev and Koslowsky Meni
WhatsApp is one of the more popular messaging applications used in interpersonal relationships, often providing participants with emotional social support. As Eagly and Crowley (1986) posit that gender plays a salient role in social interactions, the present study examined gender differences in Family WhatsApp usage and whether emotional support is more frequently a goal for women than for men. Using a snowball approach, graduate students in family studies and behavioral science were asked to complete questionnaires concerning their family WhatsApp usage (N=298). Findings showed that women use WhatsApp more than men and, particularly for individual emotional support. It appears that gender differences are being preserved and carried on from the offline to the online settings and are more noticeable in the private form of the platform, as it may encourage more intimate emotional expressions.