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The social capital accumulation in the contemporary era

Gloria Hongyee Chan (Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 12 April 2022

Issue publication date: 2 November 2022




Traditionally, demographic factors have been recognized as important factors of social capital accumulation. Owing to the differences in social structure and relationships resulted from the Internet development, the social capital accumulation mechanism is likely different. Hence, this study investigated the significance of the demographic factors and the Internet-related factors (Internet mobilization, collective identity, and digital literacy) of social capital accumulation nowadays, so as to understand the factors contributing to social capital accumulation nowadays, and reflect upon the applicability of traditional social capital accumulation mechanism.


There were 1,747 participants aged between 13 and 30 taking part in this quantitative study. Correlation analysis was performed to find out the relationship of participants' demographic background and Internet-related factors with offline and online social capital. Structural equation modeling, hierarchical regression analysis, and mediation analysis was performed to investigate how these factors were related to the social capital accumulated from the Internet.


Results showed that demographic background and engagement in Internet activities affected the acquisition of social capital from the Internet. Digital literacy displayed the largest mediating effect on online social capital accumulation. Corresponding implications were discussed.


Informed by the literature and theories of social capital, this study investigates the mechanism of online social capital accumulation by exploring its contributing factors.



Funding: This study was funded by Internal Research Grant, Caritas Institute of Higher Education.

Conflict of interest: The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


Chan, G.H. (2022), "The social capital accumulation in the contemporary era", Internet Research, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 1930-1951.



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