Social Media Use and Mental Health: An Educational Intervention to Reduce Depression and Anxiety in Adolescents
Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Dr. Evelyn Parrish
Dr. Amy Burnett
Dr. Andrew Makowski
Background: Most adolescents spend a great deal of their time using various social media platforms. However, excessive and maladaptive social media use is correlated with worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety among adolescents.
Objective: This project aimed to determine whether an educational intervention could help decrease overall time spent using social media and improve mood and mental health outcomes among adolescents with depression or anxiety disorders.
Methods: This was a quasi-experiment with a pretest and posttest design. An educational intervention about the relationship between social media use and symptoms of depression and anxiety among adolescents and strategies to minimize risk was delivered in person or via a video calling platform to eligible participants at the University of Kentucky Adolescent Medicine Clinic. Patients reported their weekly time spent using social media using their smartphone’s screen time tracker function at baseline and twice after they received the intervention. Depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed at baseline and twice following the intervention using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 instruments.
Results: Data were collected from 15 adolescent participants. Neither the average social media use times nor the average GAD-7 scores changed following the intervention. PHQ-9/A scores decreased slightly following the intervention, but this change was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: The educational intervention did not have a statistically significant effect on the participants’ social media use time or their PHQ-9/A and GAD-7 scores. These findings seem to contradict the current understanding of the relationship between SMU and mental health problems. Further research is needed to understand the causative direction of this relationship, and to develop successful methods of minimizing adverse mental health outcomes.
Catlett, Natalie, "Social Media Use and Mental Health: An Educational Intervention to Reduce Depression and Anxiety in Adolescents" (2022). DNP Projects. 389.
Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms Commons, Other Mental and Social Health Commons, Other Psychiatry and Psychology Commons, Psychiatric and Mental Health Commons, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Commons, Public Health Education and Promotion Commons