Literature Review for Dissertation Sample

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The aim of this literature review is to critically analyze and synthesize the existing literature on the topic of “The impact of social media on mental health among young adults”. This review will discuss the effects of social media on mental health, the prevalence of social media usage among young adults, and the different factors that contribute to the relationship between social media and mental health. The review will also identify the gaps in the literature and provide recommendations for future research.

Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Social media has become a ubiquitous aspect of modern life, with the majority of young adults utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. While social media has numerous benefits, it also has a negative impact on mental health. Studies have shown that excessive social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders (Błachnio et al., 2017; Lin et al., 2016).

One of the reasons why social media negatively affects mental health is that it promotes social comparison. Young adults often compare themselves to the idealized versions of their peers’ lives, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and depression (Fardouly et al., 2018). Social media also facilitates cyberbullying, which is associated with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation among young adults (Kowalski et al., 2014).

Prevalence of Social Media Usage among Young Adults

The use of social media among young adults is widespread. According to the Pew Research Center (2019), 90% of young adults between the ages of 18-29 use social media, and the average daily usage time is 3 hours. Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular social media platforms among this age group.

Factors Contributing to the Relationship between Social Media and Mental Health

The relationship between social media and mental health is complex, and numerous factors contribute to this relationship. One of the key factors is the amount of time spent on social media. Studies have shown that excessive social media use is associated with negative mental health outcomes (Błachnio et al., 2017; Lin et al., 2016).

Another factor is the type of social media content that individuals are exposed to. Studies have shown that exposure to idealized and edited images on social media can lead to body dissatisfaction, which is a risk factor for eating disorders (Perloff et al., 2014). Moreover, the experience of cyberbullying on social media can have a detrimental impact on mental health (Kowalski et al., 2014).

Gaps in the Literature

Despite the wealth of research on social media and mental health, there are still several gaps in the literature. For instance, most studies have relied on self-report measures, which can be subject to response bias. Additionally, most studies have focused on the negative impact of social media on mental health, with less attention given to the potential positive effects of social media.

Recommendations for Future Research

Future research should use more objective measures to assess social media use and its impact on mental health. Additionally, more research is needed to explore the potential positive effects of social media, such as its role in promoting social support and reducing social isolation. Moreover, research is needed to identify the factors that contribute to resilience in the face of negative social media experiences.

Conclusion

Social media has become an integral part of young adults’ lives, but it also has a negative impact on mental health. The negative effects of social media on mental health are complex, and numerous factors contribute to this relationship. Despite the wealth of research on social media and mental health, there are still gaps in the literature, and future research should explore the potential positive effects of social media and identify the factors that contribute to resilience in the face.

References 

Błachnio, A., Przepiorka, A., & Pantic, I. (2017). Association between Facebook addiction, self-esteem and life satisfaction: A cross-sectional study. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 1-6.

Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Halliwell, E. (2018). Social comparisons on social media: the impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. Body Image, 26, 38-45.

Kowalski, R. M., Giumetti, G. W., Schroeder, A. N., & Lattanner, M. R. (2014). Bullying in the digital age: A critical review and meta-analysis of cyberbullying research among youth. Psychological Bulletin, 140(4), 1073-1137.

Lin, L. Y., Sidani, J. E., Shensa, A., Radovic, A., Miller, E., Colditz, J. B., & Primack, B. A. (2016). Association between social media use and depression among US young adults. Depression and Anxiety, 33(4), 323-331.

Perloff, R. M., Bonelli, L. M., & Rayburn, N. R. (2014). Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspectives and an agenda for research. Sex Roles, 71(11-12), 363-377.

Pew Research Center. (2019). Social Media Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/

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