A recent study found that people are less comfortable with the disclosure of distressing information online than offline. This applies whether the information – which in this test included a relationship breakup, a close friend’s suicide, and a relative’s cancer diagnosis – was being disclosed by themselves or shared by others. Those over 40 years old were less comfortable with online disclosures in general. Note that the research didn’t distinguish between general Facebook posting and the sharing at private support groups. Individuals wishing to share such information also need to consider whether receiving Facebook comments of support (or “likes”) is sufficient to help someone get through a difficulty time.
- Most people prefer that their friends share personal, negative information offline.
- One study showed that people are more likely to share news about a breakup rather than a friend’s suicide or a serious health issue online.
- People who are more emotionally stable are shown to be less likely to post information about a breakup online.
“Both in person and online, self-disclosure can be an important way of forging intimacy in relationships.”