Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Evelyn Parrish

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Amy Burnett

Committee Member

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.