Adolescent Emotional Well-Being and Social Media Addiction: The COVID-19 Pandemic's Influence on Mental Health

Main Article Content

Andreas P. Mulder Kristine T. Kingsley, , PsyD, ABPP Diego Fernando Rivera Camacho, PhD Juan Arango Lasprilla, PhD

Abstract

Currently, many adolescents allocate over three hours daily to their engagement with social media platforms. It is a prevalent practice among adolescents to invest significant time online without complete awareness of the adverse impact it may have on their emotional and social well-being. Considering this, a cross-sectional study was undertaken to assess the evolution of social media addiction in the post-COVID19 era, its repercussions on the emotional well-being of adolescents, and to identify predictive factors for the onset of emotional distress. The study encompassed 848 adolescents, aged 10 to 22, primarily from the United States. Data was collected using various questionnaires including the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS), Patient-Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21), as well as the Pediatric Quality of Life scale (PedsQL). The findings revealed a significant increase in social media addiction scores (p<0.0001) between before and during the pandemic. A slight and statistically insignificant decrease (p=0.5481) was observed during the time of the pandemic to after. Comparing the results during the pandemic with those after, it was evident that adolescents reported lower scores on the PHQ-9, GAD-7, and DASS-21, signifying an enhancement in mental health. The study also identified the use of social media and past experiences of cyberbullying as predictive factors for elevated scores on the PHQ-9, GAD-7, DASS-21, and BSMAS. These findings indicate the utility of these factors in forecasting both social media addiction and declines in mental well-being. 

Article Details

How to Cite
MULDER, Andreas P. et al. Adolescent Emotional Well-Being and Social Media Addiction: The COVID-19 Pandemic's Influence on Mental Health. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 5, may 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/5289>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v12i5.5289.
Section
Research Articles

References

1. Stefanie, S. (2017). United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Max Planck.
2. Kiss, O., Nagata, J. M., de Zambotti, M., Dick, A. S., Marshall, A. T., Sowell, E. R., … Baker, F. C. (2023). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on screen time and sleep in early adolescents. Health Psychology: Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. Doi:10.1037/hea0001251
3. Tutgun-Ünal A. Social Media Addiction of New Media and Journalism Students *. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. 2020;19(2). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1251117.pdf
4. Dahl, R. E., Allen, N. B., Wilbrecht, L., & Suleiman, A. B. (2018). Importance of investing in adolescence from a developmental science perspective. Nature, 554(7693), 441–450. Doi:10.1038/nature25770
5. Ramsey, N., Obeidallah, M., & Abraham, A. (2023). Impact of COVID-19 on adolescent health and use of social media. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 35(3), 362–367. Doi:10.1097/MOP.0000000000001248
6. “Kroger, J. (2004) Identity in Adolescence the Balance between Self and Other. Routledge, London & New York. - References - Scientific Research Publishing.” Www.scirp.org, www.scirp.org/reference/ReferencesPapers?ReferenceID=2025264. Accessed 10 Jan. 2024.
7. Cotterell, John. Social Networks in Youth & Adolescence. London, Routledge, 2007.
8. Savci, M., & Aysan, F. (2017). Social-emotional model of internet addiction. Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 27(4), 349–358. Doi:10.1080/24750573.2017.1367552
9. Myers, T. A., & Crowther, J. H. (2009). Social comparison as a predictor of body dissatisfaction: A metaanalytic review. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118(4), 683–698.
10. Fox, J., & Moreland, J. J. (2015). The dark side of social networking sites: An exploration of the relational and psychological stressors associated with Facebook use and affordances. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 168–176. Doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.083
11. Munno, D., Cappellin, F., Saroldi, M., Bechon, E., Guglielmucci, F., Passera, R., & Zullo, G. (2017). Internet Addiction Disorder: Personality characteristics and risk of pathological overuse in adolescents. Psychiatry Research, 248, 1–5. Doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.11.008
12. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations; Studies towards the Integration of the Social Sciences, 7(2), 117–140. Doi:10.1177/001872675400700202
13. Ehmke, R., Steiner-Adair, C., Wick, D., & Ed, D. (2016, March 2). How using social media affects teenagers. Retrieved 17 April 2024, from Child Mind Institute website: https://childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/
14. Spies Shapiro, L. A., & Margolin, G. (2014). Growing up wired: social networking sites and adolescent psychosocial development. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 17(1), 1–18. Doi:10.1007/s10567-013-0135-1
15. Nesi, J., & Prinstein, M. J. (2015). Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43(8), 1427–1438. Doi:10.1007/s10802-015-0020-0
16. Barry, C. T., Sidoti, C. L., Briggs, S. M., Reiter, S. R., & Lindsey, R. A. (2017). Adolescent social media use and mental health from adolescent and parent perspectives. Journal of Adolescence, 61(1), 1–11. Doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.08.005
17. Oswald, F., Campbell, J., Williamson, C., Richards, J., & Kelly, P. (2020). A scoping review of the relationship between running and mental health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21), 8059. Doi:10.3390/ijerph17218059
18. Firth, J., Marx, W., Dash, S., Carney, R., Teasdale, S. B., Solmi, M., … Sarris, J. (2019). The effects of dietary improvement on symptoms of depression and anxiety: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychosomatic Medicine, 81(3), 265–280. Doi:10.1097/psy.0000000000000673
19. Vannucci, A., Simpson, E. G., Gagnon, S., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2020). Social media use and risky behaviors in adolescents: A meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescence, 79(1), 258–274. Doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.01.014
20. Loades, M. E., Chatburn, E., Higson-Sweeney, N., Reynolds, S., Shafran, R., Brigden, A., … Crawley, E. (2020). Rapid systematic review: The impact of social isolation and loneliness on the mental health of children and adolescents in the context of COVID-19. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(11), 1218-1239.e3. Doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2020.05.009
21. Zhou, S.-J., Zhang, L.-G., Wang, L.-L., Guo, Z.-C., Wang, J.-Q., Chen, J.-C., … Chen, J.-X. (2020). Prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of psychological health problems in Chinese adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29(6), 749–758. Doi:10.1007/s00787-020-01541-4
22. Lorenzo, N. E., Zeytinoglu, S., Morales, S., Listokin, J., Almas, A. N., Degnan, K. A., … Fox, N. A. (2021). Transactional associations between parent and late adolescent internalizing symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: The moderating role of avoidant coping. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 50(3), 459–469. Doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01374-z
23. Orben, A., Tomova, L., & Blakemore, S.-J. (2020). The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health. The Lancet. Child & Adolescent Health, 4(8), 634–640. Doi:10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30186-3
24. Magson NR, Freeman JYA, Rapee RM, Richardson CE, Oar EL, Fardouly J. Risk and Protective Factors for Prospective Changes in Adolescent Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Youth Adolesc. 2021;50(1):44-57. Doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01332-9
25. Best, P., Manktelow, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children and Youth Services Review, 41, 27–36. Doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.03.001
26. Baker, D. A., & Algorta, G. P. (2016). The relationship between online social networking and depression: A systematic review of quantitative studies. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 19(11), 638–648. Doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0206
27. Tao, X., & Fisher, C. B. (2022). Exposure to social media racial discrimination and mental health among adolescents of color. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51(1), 30–44. Doi:10.1007/s10964-021-01514-z
28. Riehm, K. E., Feder, K. A., Tormohlen, K. N., Crum, R. M., Young, A. S., Green, K. M., … Mojtabai, R. (2019). Associations between time spent using social media and internalizing and externalizing problems among US youth. JAMA Psychiatry (Chicago, Ill.), 76(12), 1266–1273. Doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2325
29. Clark, D. M. (2018a). Realizing the mass public benefit of evidence-based Psychological Therapies: The IAPT program. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 14, 159–183. Doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050817-084833
30. Schulz AJ, Mehdipanah R, Chatters LM, Reyes AG, Neblett EW, Israel BA. Moving Health Education and Behavior Upstream: Lessons From COVID-19 for Addressing Structural Drivers of Health Inequities. Health Education & Behavior. 2020;47(4):519-524. Doi:10.1177/1090198120929985
31. Paschke, Kerstin, et al. “Adolescent Gaming and Social Media Usage before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” SUCHT, vol. 67, no. 1, 1 Feb. 2021, pp. 13–22, https://doi.org/10.1024/0939-5911/a000694.
32. Lin, Jessica, et al. “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Adolescent Health.” Current Opinion in Pediatrics, vol. 31, no. 4, Aug. 2019, pp. 469–475, https://doi.org/10.1097/mop.0000000000000760.
33. Rodgers, R. F., & Melioli, T. (2016). The relationship between body image concerns, eating disorders and internet use, part I: A review of empirical support. Adolescent Research Review, 1(2), 95–119. Doi:10.1007/s40894-015-0016-6
34. Twenge, Jean M., et al. “Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates among U.S. Adolescents after 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time.” Clinical Psychological Science, vol. 6, no. 1, 2018, pp. 3–17, journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2167702617723376, https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702617723376.
35. Bilgin, M., Şahin, İ., & Togay, A. (2020). Social media addiction in adolescents and parent-adolescent relationship. TED EĞİTİM VE BİLİM. Doi:10.15390/eb.2020.8202
36. Koning, I. M., Peeters, M., Finkenauer, C., & van den Eijnden, R. J. J. M. (2018). Bidirectional effects of Internet-specific parenting practices and compulsive social media and Internet game use. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 7(3), 624–632. Doi:10.1556/2006.7.2018.68
37. Mougharbel F., Goldfield G.S. Psychological Correlates of Sedentary Screen Time Behaviour among Children and Adolescents: A Narrative Review. Curr. Obes. Rep. 2020;9:493–511. Doi: 10.1007/s13679-020-00401-1.
38. Keles B., McCrae N., Grealish A. A Systematic Review: The Influence of Social Media on Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress in Adolescents. Int. J. Adolesc. Youth. 2020;25:79–93. Doi: 10.1080/02673843.2019.1590851.
39. Chen I.-H., Chen C.-Y., Pakpour A.H., Griffiths M.D., Lin C.-Y., Li X.-D., Tsang H.W.H. Problematic Internet-Related Behaviors Mediate the Associations between Levels of Internet Engagement and Distress among Schoolchildren during COVID-19 Lockdown: A Longitudinal Structural Equation Modeling Study. J. Behav. Addict. 2021;10:135–148. Doi: 10.1556/2006.2021.00006.
40. Boer M., van den Eijnden R.J.J.M., Boniel-Nissim M., Wong S.-L., Inchley J.C., Badura P., Craig W.M., Gobina I., Kleszczewska D., Klanšček H.J., et al. Adolescents’ Intense and Problematic Social Media Use and Their Well-Being in 29 Countries. J. Adolesc. Health. 2020;66:S89–S99