Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: This research aims to explore the impact of individuals’ demographics and their social media use on empathy, sympathy, and wellbeing in Saudi Arabia. This paper can fill an untapped gap in a developing country (i.e., the Arab context) by shedding light on sympathetic and empathetic behavior and its effect on wellbeing in social media.

Method: We manage to obtain a sample of 431 responses across all Saudi regions. Data were analyzed to evaluate reliability and validity of the study’s constructs while the hypotheses were tested using a structural equation modeling (SEM) technique.

Results: SEM regression results suggest that there is a significant relationship between both age and income and social media use. In addition, social media use has an indirect relationship to individuals’ wellbeing. This indirect relationship is better manifested through sympathy rather than empathy.

Conclusion: Theoretically, this study furthers our understanding of the role of empathy and sympathy on wellbeing in social media among Saudis, whereas practically provides insights to industry experts about what matters to social media users to increase their wellbeing.