Date of Award

Fall 2012

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Karen Van Gundy


There is currently a debate about the way Internet use affects community outcomes. Some suggest positive effects while others propose negative effects. The current study seeks to add to this discussion by using two waves of data to examine how frequency and type of Internet use affect sense of community in a sample of rural youth. Competing hypotheses are posed---Internet use will increase sense of community and Internet use will decrease sense of community. Using data from the Rural Youth Study, results indicate mixed effects of Internet use on sense of community dimensions, community attachment, support and emotional connection with peers, satisfaction of needs and opportunity for involvement, and community participation. Therefore, partial support for each hypotheses is found as Internet use has both positive and negative effects on sense of community dimensions, while also having no effect. Interaction effects of sex are also studied with no significant findings.