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How Does Social Media Affect the Mental Health of Adolescents?

Article Summary: The role of personality traits and social support in relations of health-related behaviours and depressive symptoms

In recent times, social media has become a common form of communication. Globally, nearly all adults and teenagers are on at least one social media platform. However, spending too much time on social media has been associated with negative health impacts, including long-term parapsychological symptoms. Depressive symptoms are key health concerns associated with behavior-related risk factors such as a lack of physical activity and excess screentime (Edler et al., 2022). Many media users spend excessive time on media, which limits physical activity. An individual’s perceived level of social support is also identified to influence the media use-depressive symptoms relationship. The article thus examines the influence of personality traits and perceived social support on health and the association between social media use and depressive symptoms.

Previously, studies have shown varying results on a person’s susceptibility to media, indicating differential impacts based on individual-level characteristics. Therefore, the author hypothesized that perceived social support and individual traits moderate how social media utilization relates to depressive symptoms. The authors also hypothesized that perceived social support and individual traits moderate the impact physical activity has on potential development of depressive symptoms. The data used in the study was from the repeated follow-up of the earlier Geman Public Health Institute’s KiGGs cohort. The earlier KiGGs cohort involved a sample of 2873 participants. However, controls on socio-demographic factors in the second KiGGs cohort to prevent bias caused a reduction of the sample population to 1402 participants (Edler et al., 2022). The study also involved questionnaires in collecting data from participants. Data analysis was done through a stepwise ridge, net, and lasso regression (Edler et al., 2022) to predict depressive symptoms caused by personality and perceived moral support, media use, and physical activity. As control variables, the researchers also included participants’ accelerometer wear time, educational level, parental social, economic status and age, sex, and personal resources. The study outcomes indicated positive and negative relationships between various variables. The researchers found that media use (television, social media, and PC) positively impacted depressive symptoms. On the contrary, physical activity did not impact depressive symptoms. Findings also suggested that individual traits abated the significant relationship between media utilization and the development of depressive symptoms. In addition, the results showed that personality traits moderated moderate to vigorous physical relationship to depressive symptoms.


Edler, J. S., Manz, K., Rojas-Perilla, N., Baumeister, H., & Cohrdes, C. (2022). The role of personality traits and social support in relations of health-related behaviours and depressive symptoms. BMC psychiatry22(1), 1-15.

Article summary: Childhood Emotional Maltreatment and Problematic Social Media Use Among Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Body Image Dissatisfaction

Social media has become a widely used form of electronic communication (Kircaburun et al., 2020). Today, users can create online communities to discuss various issues and share ideas and thoughts, among other content. Teenagers have become part of the large social media community. However, current research finds social media utilization to cause challenging social media use and childhood emotional maltreatment among teenagers. Therefore, the researchers sought to validate the association between social media utilization and challenging social media use and childhood emotional maltreatment in teenagers.

The study’s first hypothesis was that there was a positive Body Image Dissatisfaction (BID)-Social media use relationship. The second hypothesis was that it BID influenced the how social media usage relates to juvenile emotional maltreatment. The study engaged a sample of 385 adolescent teenagers between 14 and 18 years who used social media (Kircaburun et al., 2020). Data collection was through questionnaires. Researchers analyzed the results through SPSS software to assess Body Image Satisfaction validity. The study found Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube to be the participants’ most frequently used social media platforms. Participants used other social media platforms, including Snapchat, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Moreover, there was a significant relationship between daily use of social media and challenging social media use. In addition, challenging social media use was high among female participants than male participants.


Kircaburun, K., Griffiths, M. D., & Billieux, J. (2020). Childhood emotional maltreatment and problematic social media use among adolescents: The mediating role of body image dissatisfaction. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction18(6), 1536-1547.

Article Summary: Looking Through a Filtered Lens: Negative Social Comparison on social media and Suicidal Ideation Among Young Adults

Social media is a significant influence to negative social comparison. Such comparisons on are also associated with suicidal ideation (Spitzer et al., 2022). Mostly, young adults are at the highest risk of suicide motivated by social media comparisons as the most frequent users of social media. Usually, social media triggers negative thoughts about oneself, from comparing oneself to others who may seem to have better lifestyles. A negative image of oneself founded on social comparisons thus triggers suicidal ideas. The existing research offers no insights into the relationship between online social comparisons and how such comparisons could motivate suicidal ideas. Therefore, in the study, the author sought to assess a relationship between social comparisons on social media, specifically Instagram and Facebook, and suicidal ideas. In addition, the researchers sought to assess whether social comparison moderates how thwarted belongingness relates to suicidal ideation.

The study assessed the negative social comparison, thwarted belonging, and suicidal ideation measures among 456 college students (Spitzer et al., 2022). Data was collected through questionnaires. The findings suggested a positive association between social comparisons on various social media platforms and suicidal ideations. Additionally, the thwarted belonging-suicidal ideation relationship was stronger from social comparisons on Instagram.


Spitzer, E. G., Crosby, E. S., & Witte, T. K. (2022). Looking through a filtered lens: Negative social comparison on social media and suicidal ideation among young adults. Psychology of Popular Media.

Article Summary: Social-Cognitive Mediators of the Relationship of Media Exposure to Acute Mass Violence and Distress Among Adolescents

Acute mass shootings have occurred severally in the United States. In addition, the display of such mass shootings, among other acts of acute violence, on media cultivates the potential of being a victim of such violence. Once displayed on social media, such acts of violence, each with its own intensity, contradict how people perceive reality. Social cognitive theories suggest that how people perceive reality is highly influenced by vicarious experienced. Usually, adolescents and young adults spend the most time on social media daily. In 2016, research suggested that teenagers spent six and two hours on social media and watching Tv, respectively (Felix et al., 2021). Therefore, teenagers’ perception of reality, as influenced by acute mass violence displayed on media, could influence personal perception of risk. Yet, previously, research lacked sufficient attention to possible changeable social cognitions that could guide efforts on public mental health. Therefore, the study was on key beliefs regarding the world, threat perception, and initial reactions to events as mediators of the association between watching acute mass violence on social media on anxiety and depression among 13 to 17-year-old teenagers.

Therefore, researchers hypothesized that key beliefs on the world, threat perception, and initial event reactions could mediate the association between watching acute mass violence and current anxiety. The study involved a sample population of 342 teenagers between 13 and 17 years who lived in the US and belonged to an opt-in youth panel (online). Data collection was through questionnaires (Felix et al., 2021). Analysis was done through SPSS software to assess the validity of the mediations (individual threat perception, key beliefs, anxious emotional response to media content, and societal threat perception, among other negative reactions from content on media). The findings suggested a significant relationship between exposure to media display of acute mass violence and anxious emotional reactions, anxious emotional response, and individual threat perception, among other negative reactions. The most significant pathways identified in the study were anxiety reactions about an outcome, core beliefs, anxious emotional responses and individual threat perception. Spending too much time on acute mass violence content on media and anxious responses had a significant relation.


Felix, E. D., Janson, M., Fly, J., & Powers, J. (2021). Social-cognitive mediators of the relationship of media exposure to acute mass violence and distress among adolescents. American journal of orthopsychiatry.


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