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Title:Passive social media use and emotional wellbeing: Potential influences of newsfeed content and neighborhood danger
Author(s):Jones, Markera
Advisor(s):Aber, Mark S.
Contributor(s):Todd, Nathan R.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):social media
emotional health
neighborhood danger
antisocial behavior
social media use
passive browsing
Abstract:With a constant stream of social information so readily accessible, people are spending more time browsing on social media websites, and emerging research suggests it can be detrimental to mental health. While it is unclear which characteristics of the social media space drive this relationship, existing literature on exposure to antisocial behaviors links face-to-face exposure as well as exposure through media such as television and video games to deficits in healthy emotional development. This exploratory study investigated whether antisocial content exposure via the social media newsfeed is associated with the mental health, and whether neighborhood danger—one factor associated with more direct exposure to antisocial behavior— moderates this relationship. Specifically, we hypothesized that the relationship between exposure to antisocial content via the newsfeed and mental health would be stronger when neighborhood danger was high than when low. Two-hundred seventeen participants between ages 18 and 22 completed self-report surveys. Our findings reveal a significant interaction between frequency of social media use and antisocial content on the newsfeed in predicting depressive symptoms and empathy, but not in predicting self-esteem. In predicting empathy only, neighborhood danger interacted with amount of antisocial newsfeed content. Findings from this study illustrate the complex interplay between online and offline social spaces and suggest a need for researchers to consider broadening the ecological scope of social media research past the individual level to include neighborhood factors.
Issue Date:2019-04-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Markera Jones
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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