Elements of positive relationships among Facebook users

Ooi Shok Hong, Intan Hashimah Mohd. Hashim




Based on current literature review, there is no clear definition of positive relationships. A wide variety of concepts are used interchangeably in the literature to describe positive relationships. There are still debates as to what represent positive aspects of relationships, especially in the context of online interactions such as Facebook. As an attempt to further understand about what elements comprise positive relationships, particularly in the context of online relationships, this study examines responses from 800 participants on positive aspects of their relationships in Facebook. Participants were university students from a northern Malaysian public university (178 males; 622 females) an the age range were from 19 to 39 years old. The study was conducted online using Google Form online survey. The online survey was posted in e-learning for three months in order for students to participate in this research. From the qualitative analysis, responses can be divided into eight major themes including social support, trust, interaction, positive emotion, motivation, closeness, understanding and others. The findings shed some lights on elements of positive relationships especially in online context. It also highlights similarities between online and offline relationships. The study increases understanding on how positive aspects of relationships can be conceptualised and measured and further extend theories of positive relationships across online relationships.


Keywords: facebook, interaction, positive psychology, positive relationships, university students, well-being

Full Text:




Adams, R.E., Laursen, B., & Wilder, D. (2001). Characteristics of closeness in adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 24(3), 353-363.

Albrecht, T.L., & Adelman, M.B. (1987). Communicating social support: A theoretical perspective. Beverly Hills, C.A., Sage.

Al-Dheleai, Y.M., & Tasir, Z. (2017). Using facebook for the purpose of students’ interaction and its correlation with students’ academic performance. Tojet, 16(4), 170-178.

Armenta, C.N., Fritz, M.M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2016). Functions of positive emotions: Gratitude as a motivator of self-improvement and positive change. Retrieved from http://sonjalyubomirsky.com.

Awang Rozaimie, S. (2011). Expatriates’ emotion reactions toward Malaysian multicultural society. European Journal of Social Sciences, 25(2), 171-181.

Broussard, S.C., & Garrison, M.E.B. (2004). The relationship between classroom motivation and academic achievement in elementary school-aged children. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 33(2), 106-120.

Carson, S.H., Peterson, J.B., & Higgins, D.M. (2005). Reliability, validity, and factor structure of the creative achievement questionnaire. Creativity Research Journal, 17(1), 37-50.

Compton, W.C. (2005). Introduction to positive psychology. Belmont, C.A., Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Crohn, H. (2006). Young women recall their positive relationships with their mothers and stepmothers. Retrieved from https://kb.osu.edu.

Din, N., & Haron, S. (2013). Benefits of using the Facebook from the Malaysian perspectives. Journal of Asian Behavioural Studies, 3(9), 29-40.

Fallah, N. (2010). Interparental conflict and internalizing symptoms: The moderating role of positive peer relationships (PhD dissertation). Retrieved from University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Feng, Z., Vlachantoni, A., Liu, X., & Jones, K. (2016). Social trust, interpersonal trust and self-rated health in China: A multi-level study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15(1), 180.

Fredrickson, B. (2009). Positivity: Ground breaking research reveals how to embrace the hidden strength of positive emotions, overcome negativity, and thrive. New York, Crown Publishing.

Fredrickson, B.L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1-53.

Gable, S.L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 103-110.

Gottman, J.M. (1994). Why marriages succeed or fail and how you can make yours last. New York, N.Y., Fireside.

Håkansson, P., & Witmer, H. (2015). Social media and trust: A systematic literature review. Journal of Business and Economics, 6(3), 517-525.

Heacox, C. (2005). Building positive relationships with students and its effect on student attitude and learning. Masters Abstracts International, 44(3), 89-94.

Helliwell, J.F., & Wang, S. (2011). Trust and wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), 42-78.

Ho, D.Y. (1998). Interpersonal relationships and relationship dominance: An analysis based on methodological relationism. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 1(1), 1-16.

Hong, F.Y., Huang, D.H., Lin, H.Y., & Chiu, S.L. (2014). Analysis of the psychological traits, facebook usage, and facebook addiction model of Taiwanese university students. Telematics and Informatics, 31(4), 597-606.

Jacobs Bao, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). The rewards of happiness. In Boniwell & David, S. (Eds.), Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 119-133). Oxford, U.K., Oxford University Press.

Jafarkarimi, H., Sim, A.T.H., Saadatdoost, R., & Hee, J.M. (2016). Facebook addiction among Malaysian students. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 6(6), 465-469.

Joseph, G.E., & Strain, P.S. (2004). Building positive relationship with young children. Young Exceptional Children, 7(4), 21-28.

Khairuddin, M.S. & Mohamad, F.S. (2014). Interaksi di ruang maya: Kajian kes jaringan sosial melalui laman Facebook di Malaysia. Geografia Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 10(6), 138-147.

Keath, J. (2012). Where users spend most of their time on Facebook. Retrieved from http://www.maestrosocialmedia.com.

Knee, C.R., Patrick, H., Vietor, N.A., Nanayakkara, A., & Neighbors, C. (2002). Self-determination as growth motivation in romantic relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(5), 609-619.

Lambert, N.M. (2017). Positive relationships. In Biswas-Diener, R., & Diener, E. (Eds.), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, I.L., DEF Publishers.

Lyndon, Suhana, Sivapalan, Azima, Mohd, Y.H., Abdul, H.A., Zaimah, Sarmila & Lim Jie We (2014). Pemerkasan dengan media sosial: Aplikasi Facebook dan pembelajaran Bahasa Inggeris dalam kalangan mahasiswa Antropologi dan Sosiologi, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Geografia Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 10(1), 78-86.

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L.A., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). (2017). Overview of internet user survey 2016. Retrieved from https://www.mcmc.gov.my.

Mattson, M., & Hall, J.G. (2011). Health as communication nexus: A service-learning approach. United States, Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Narayanan, S.S., & Onn, A.C.W. (2016). The influence of perceived social support and self-efficacy on resilience among first year Malaysian students. Kajian Malaysia, 34(2), 1-23.

Pendergast, D. (2006). Teaching middle years rethinking curriculum. Pedagogy Assessment Crow’s Nest.

Reis, H.T., Collins, W.A., & Berscheid, E. (2000). The relationship context of human behavior and development. Psychological Bulletin, 126(6), 844-872.

Roffey, S. (2012). Introduction to positive relationships: Evidence-based practice across the world. Dordrecht, Springer.

Rousseau, D.M., Sitkin, S.B., Burt, R.S., & Camerer, C. (1998). Not so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust. The Academy of Management Review, 23, 393-404.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, Free Press.

Sherchan, W., Nepal, S., & Paris, C. (2013). A survey of trust in social networks. ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), 45(4), 47.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children’s social and emotional competence? London, Paul Chapman Publishing.

Wilson, S., & MacLean, R. (2011). Research methods and data analysis for psychology. Italy, McGraw-Hill.

Yeager Jr, W.L. (2004). The effect of the Capturing Kids' Hearts staff development program in fostering positive teacher-student relationships at Jane Long Middle School in Bryan ISD (PhD dissertation). Retrieved from University in College Station, Texas, United State.


  • There are currently no refbacks.