School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Laura Beiler


social media use, emerging adulthood, psychological well-being, spirituality




Approximately 70% of emerging adults, individuals ages 18-29 years, report using social media daily. Emerging adulthood is a time of role transition and exploration; therefore, it is important to understand the role social media has on this population. Social media use in young adults has shown mixed results. The inconsistencies of the research center on the content of social media use and the impact it has on well-being. When social media is used to build relationships and increase social support increased well-being was noted. Conversely, when social media use resulted in social comparisons and negative feedback decreased well-being was reported. Spirituality has been noted as protective factors and positive coping strategies for psychological challenges but have only been minimally examined as protective factors for social media use on psychological well-being. This study examined reasons and motivations for social media use and their impact on psychological well-being in emerging adults. Additionally, this study assessed the role of spirituality as a potential protective factor for social media and psychological well-being in emerging adults. An online survey consisted of forty-eight questions: two demographic questions, two assessing social media sites use; twenty assessing overall social media use, eighteen questions assessing psychological well-being, and six assessing spirituality was used for this study. Psychological well-being was positively correlated with YouTube use, but negatively correlated with Twitter use. Developing an understanding of how social media is used by this population and how that use impacts psychological well-being can better inform professionals interacting with these individuals.

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