Gendered Spaces: Examining Woman’s Online Well-being and Relationship Maintenance Patterns

  • Jessica Wendorf Muhamad Florida State University
  • Fan Yang University of Alabama
  • Pooja Ichplani Florida State University
  • Laura-Kate Huse
Keywords: gender, muted group theory, online well-being, relationship maintenance, uncertainty management


Although there exists abundant literature on the potential benefits of using social networking sites (SNSs), there is still a significant gap regarding the potential gendered effects of SNSs. Attempting to address this need, this study seeks to contribute to the understanding of mediated environment’s impact on emotional well-being and relationship maintenance patterns among women. In order to understand women’s social behaviours in a male-dominated space, as is cyberspace, muted group theory and frameworks for uncertainty management were adopted as theoretical bases for data collection and analysis. After conducting a cross-sectional survey study (N = 341), data analysis using a series of ANOVAs indicated females put forth more effort to maintain online relationships than males (F(1, 338) = 5.09, p = .025). Additionally, the results of MANOVA suggest that there is significant variance by gender on SNS-related components (F(3, 336) = 3.90, p = .009) with female Facebook users having higher level of perceived stress (Mdiff = -1.42, SE = 0.65, p = .031) and lower self-disclosure (Mdiff = -2.38, SE = 1.04, p = .023) than males. The study highlights the effects of women’s online experiences on well-being and expands the understanding of emotional reactions to mediated interactions.

Author Biographies

Jessica Wendorf Muhamad, Florida State University

Dr. Wendorf Muhamad is Assistant Professor in the College of Communication and Information at FSU. She engages in co-creation of participatory-based interventions for health and social justice with and of hyper vulnerable populations. She is also the Director of PEAKS Lab.

Fan Yang, University of Alabama

Dr. Yang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, specializing in health communication

Pooja Ichplani, Florida State University

Pooja is a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information at FSU. Her keen interest is to examine sociocultural groundings of health and well-being from a communication standpoint. She is also a Research Associate at the PEAKS Lab.

Laura-Kate Huse

Dr. Huse is a Health and Intercultural Communication scholar. Dr. Huse focuses on working with marginalized populations affected by health inequities through participatory paradigms.

How to Cite
Wendorf Muhamad, J., Yang, F., Ichplani, P., & Huse, L.-K. (2022). Gendered Spaces: Examining Woman’s Online Well-being and Relationship Maintenance Patterns. The Journal of Development Communication, 33(1), 24-31. Retrieved from