School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
Social Media, Social Networking, African Americans, Depression, Racism, Trauma
Sutton, Rosa Lee, "Sadness and Social Media: An Analysis of the Effects of Social Media on Depression in Young African American Females" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3512.
Social media has the propensity to inadvertently cause the vicarious traumatization of its users due to their witnessing violent or distressing content. This current research proposes that African American social media users suffer vicarious traumatization via social media and suffer the effects of direct, historical, racialized trauma. In the past decade, through social media, Black Americans have vividly witnessed videos depicting several high profile, violent deaths at the hands of law enforcement, police brutality, racial violence, civil unrest, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, experienced blatant discrimination, engaged in racially divisive discourse, and have witnessed attempts to have their experience and existence invalidated. As beneficial and powerful social media can be used as a tool for news and creating connectedness for members of the African American community, social media has also been a tool for evoking depression and hopelessness. Historically, African Americans have used intergenerational coping mechanisms as protective factors in family, friends, and the church. However, due to the rapidity of social media development, the dialog and audience have changed; new coping mechanisms should be explored or incorporated.