Today's college students are digital natives who have grown up using technology, such as social network systems (SNSs). SNS use, and specific behavior patterns, have been linked to a variety of psychological and social outcomes. The sense of disconnection from a student's institution, known as alienation, is one significant factor that can be detrimental to students' social and academic experience and performance in college (Gordon, 1998; Loo & Rolison, 1986; Suen, 1983). This study explores the association between Facebook relationship maintenance behaviors (FRMB; Ellison, Vitak, Gray, & Lampe, 2014) and alienation from their university, and whether FRMBs and alienation are affected by demographic factors of gender and year in school among undergraduate students (N = 151) at a regional comprehensive university. The results found that the prevalence of Facebook interactions with university peers was associated with a decreased sense of social estrangement (r = -.305, P = .005). Meanwhile, no significant associations were found between FRMBs and the alienation dimensions of powerlessness, meaninglessness, and social estrangement measured by the University Alienation Scale (Burbach, 1972). These findings suggest that higher education needs to be more proactive in harnessing the potential of technology to engage undergraduate students.


Jacqueline Lewis

Committee Member

Richard Auger

Committee Member

Karin Lindstrom Bremer

Committee Member

Diane Coursol

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Student Personnel



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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