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

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


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. 

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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: <>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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