Limiting Social Media Screen-time: Does Voluntary Reduction Impact Mental Health?

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Stewart, Niall Alexander




In recent decades, social media has become immensely popular, with the majority of young adults regularly using at least one platform. Some have argued that social media use may adversely affect well-being, claiming that it plays a meaningful, causal role in rising depression rates. However, evidence for this claim to date is mixed and weak. To assess the validity of this claim, I conducted an experiment replicating and expanding upon past work, exploring whether young adults (n = 39; 66.7% female; MAge = 19.54) who reported pre-existing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety would experience reductions in these symptoms after reducing social media use for three weeks. Results indicated that, in comparison to a control group, participants reported marginally significant decreases in anxiety (p = .056, η2 = .095) and the fear of missing out (p = .054, η2 = .097), but no significant changes in depressive symptomology or well-being.


Psychology - Social
Psychology - Clinical
Mental Health




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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