Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program

Psychology; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Richard Lopez

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Social media platforms are increasingly becoming part of the everyday life of Americans. The increasing use of social media platforms has been parallel to the declining mental health of adolescents, and young adults causing scientists and the public alike to wonder if there is a link between these trends. The aim of this study was to explore how the self-regulation framework can enrich social media research by taking into account individual differences in goal pursuit, and conflict. In addition, this study aimed to clarify the relationship between screen time and mental health. Social media use, mental health, and self-regulation strategies were measured in a digital sample of young adults ages 18-29 (N=200). The results indicated that there were no significant relationships between anxiety, depression, negative affect, and Instagram screen time. There was, however, a significant relationship between mental health, and problematic Instagram use which depicted conflict between social media use and other goals. Results also suggested that the process model of self-control can be applied to self-regulatory strategies in relation to social media use. Situational strategies seem to be more effective at reducing Instagram use, as opposed to cognitive strategies. These findings clarify the current contradictory screen time literature, and expand the domains in which the process model has been examined. There are practical implications from these results. Namely that research about social media use and mental health should decentralize screen time as a key factor and further explore the role of goal pursuit and conflict in this domain.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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