Universität Zürich

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How Social Well-Being Is Affected by Digital Inequalities

2018

Moritz Büchi /

Noemi Festic /

Michael Latzer

In: International Journal of Communication. [Forthcoming].

Digital inequalities have real consequences for individuals’ everyday lives—this basic assumption drives digital inequality research. Recent efforts have focused on tangible benefits of online engagement, yet subjective measures of quality of life are lacking. This article contributes to closing this gap. First, it theoretically introduces the appraisal of one’s functioning in society as an additional measure of digital inequalities. Second, it tests the dependence of this social well-being on digital inequality dimensions using structural equation modeling with nationally representative survey data. Results reveal that digital belongingness directly increases social well-being and Internet skills do so indirectly, whereas the net effect of Internet use is insignificant. These findings lead to recommendations for policies targeting digital inequalities and future research directions.