Exploring social media use as a composite construct to understand its relation to mental health: A pilot study on adolescents

Joana de Calheiros Velozo*, Johannes E. A. Stauder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Background: Adolescents are spending more and more time on social media and studying how this is associated to their mental health has become an important focus of research. However, most studies have studied social media use in general and have overlooked the variance in social media activity. That is, the differences in activities within social media. This is a pilot study that sets out to understand whether it is relevant to explore social media as a composite measure while accounting for gender differences.

Methods: A survey was distributed to parents (N = 72) with a teen between 13 and 16 years of age measuring mental health (i.e. SDQ, and CIU), and social media behavior.

Results: Findings show that various social media activities are differently related to mental health. Socializing, online shopping, and following people one is not familiar with were significantly related to conduct problems. Likewise, playing games, and posting content, specifically videos online were significantly associated with compulsive Internet use. However, no significant gender differences were found in the association between social media activities and mental health.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that social media should be studied as a composite measure rather than a single measure so that we may have a better understanding of how specific social media activities relate differently to health. Findings and suggestions for future studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Social media
  • Compulsive internet use
  • Mental health
  • Strengths and difficulties questionnaire
  • BODY-IMAGE CONCERNS
  • SELF-ESTEEM
  • INTERNET USE
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCES
  • NETWORKING SITES
  • BEHAVIORS
  • ONLINE
  • COMMUNICATION
  • FACEBOOK
  • OUTCOMES

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