Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

2019

Thesis Director

John H. Mace

Thesis Committee Member

Jeffrey R. Stowell

Thesis Committee Member

Mariana M. Juras

Abstract

The current study examined correlations between social media use and its effects on depression, anxiety, and changes in self-concept through quantitative and qualitative data. Variables included in the analysis of Study 1 were depression, anxiety, time spent using social media, number of platforms used, perception of addiction, and type of use. Study 1 showed no significant correlations between social media used and depression or anxiety, however observational analyses of correlation tables revealed a relationship between time spent using and number of platforms used; time spent using and perception of addiction; time spent using and perception of addiction; time spent using with active use; and perception of addiction with active use. Discussed are the implications of student's perceptions of social media addiction and the active use of social media. Given the gaps in literature related to social media's effects on self-concept, study 2 was used to gain qualitative analyses of student's interrelated beliefs of social media and its impacts on the formation and maintenance of self-concept. Students also explored similarities and differences between influential factors, such as internal and external components. The respondents reported an awareness of addiction-like behaviors, and identified both protective and risk factors of social media. Pathways of risky or protective social media engagement were introduced as a further topic of study.

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