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Does Social Media have a Positive or Negative Impact on Mental Health?

Does Social Media have a Positive or Negative Impact on Mental Health?

Human beings are inherently social beings with a constant need for a progressive human-to-human connection (Karim et al., 2020). Through such connections, humans have been noted to improve their mental well-being and reduce the risk of stress, anxiety, and other depressive symptoms. In fact, the deprivation of such social connections is a risk factor for poor physical and mental development and poor mental health in adolescents (Orben et al., 2020). The impact of a lack of social connection on mental health has been identified during COVID-19 as a result of adopted measures such as social distancing and the resulting mental health crisis (Galea et al., 2020). Consistently, technological advancements, especially in the development and widespread adoption of social media platforms, have changed how people socialize, connect, and communicate. Social media have emerged as new socialization agents, generating virtual social settings that influence how people interact, communicate, and see themselves and the world (Uznienė, 2022) Because socializing is considered a form of media (Genner & Süss, 2017), and socialization influences both mental and physical well-being, there are huge debates about whether socialization has a beneficial or negative impact on mental health. With the current mental health crisis in the United States and globally, it is a critical time to explore the impact of social media on mental health. This research proposal aims to develop a qualitative study to explore whether social media positively or negatively impacts mental health.

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Problem Statement

Social media today is an essential part of people’s daily social life. The expansion of internet access and social media adoption and usage are today viewed as factors of social evolution (Sadagheyani & Tatari, 2021). Social media has improved the accessibility of social connections, entertainment, news, and information. Regardless of the growing research focused on the impact of social media on mental health, the actual impacts of social media usage remain unclear, and the evidence is contradictory (Sadagheyani & Tatari, 2021). Some evidence shows that social media can be agents of socialization and a source of needed social connection (Uznienė, 2022). The virtual world enabled by social media can provide social support as well as create a sense of having a social life. However, other study findings related social media to the development of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and addiction (Srivastava et al., 2019). A systematic review by Karim et al. (2020) found that social media usage could lead to envy with detrimental effects on the severity of anxiety and depression in individuals. The conflicting evidence on the impact of social media on mental health creates the need for a deeper investigation of the phenomena of social media and its impact on mental health. The proposed qualitative study will aim to determine whether social media positively or negatively impacts the mental health of users.

Theoretical Framework

The proposed study will be guided by the transactional model of development (Sameroff, 2009). The transactional model of development helps us understand how human development occurs due to influencing and getting influenced by factors within an individual’s environment. This means a form of transaction exists between the individual and the context of influence. Individuals may be influenced or impacted by familial, social, economic, or cultural forces. According to the model, transactions occur whenever one person influences or is affected by another. (Sameroff, 2009). Such transactions occur at all levels of interactions with an impact on physical and psychosocial development.

The following research question will be addressed in the proposed research:

How do individual social media users perceive the effects of social media on their mental health?


Galea, S., Merchant, R. M., & Lurie, N. (2020). The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing. JAMA Internal Medicine, 180(6).

Genner, S., & Süss, D. (2017). Socialization as Media Effect. In The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects.

Karim, F., Oyewande, A. A., Abdalla, L. F., Ehsanullah, R. C., & Khan, S. (2020). Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 12(6).

Orben, A., Tomova, L., & Blakemore, S. J. (2020). The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health. In The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health (Vol. 4, Issue 8).

Sadagheyani, H. E., & Tatari, F. (2021). Investigating the role of social media on mental health. In Mental Health and Social Inclusion (Vol. 25, Issue 1).

Sameroff, A. (2009). The transactional model. The Transactional Model of Development: How Children and Contexts Shape Each Other., 3–21.

Srivastava, K., Chaudhury, S., Prakash, J., & Dhamija, S. (2019). Social media and mental health challenges. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 28(2), 155.

Uznienė, R. (2022). Media – Agents of Socialization. Regional Formation and Development Studies, 8(3).


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Develop the beginning of a research proposal on your phenomenon of interest. You may begin thinking about whether you are going to use a qualitative or a quantitative approach. This determination is based on your question of interest. If you are not certain of the approach, don’t worry; this will come to you as you move along with your phenomenon of interest and determine exactly what you’d like to know. Please include the following components in your paper.

Does Social Media have a Positive or Negative Impact on Mental Health.

Does Social Media have a Positive or Negative Impact on Mental Health?

Components to include in your paper:

A. The title Does Social Media Have a Positive or Negative Impact on Mental Health?) Qualitative Study

B. Introduction (including the problem statement)
C. A potential theoretical framework to underpin the study (use the Toolkit for Chapter 6 of your textbook to find potential websites for theories and conceptual frameworks & complete the assignments in the Resource Manual for Chapter 6 to gain an understanding of theoretical frameworks).
D. A hypothesis and/or research question(s). The assignment should be submitted in APA format. The submitted paper should be no more than 3 pages in length, excluding the title page and the reference page. Please see the grading rubric below for evaluation of this assignment.

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