Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 343–348 | Cite as

The Influence of Social Media on Addictive Behaviors in College Students

  • Mai-Ly N. SteersEmail author
  • Megan A. Moreno
  • Clayton Neighbors
Addiction and College Students (D Foster, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Addiction and College Students



Social media has become a primary way for college students to communicate aspects of their daily lives to those within their social network. Such communications often include substance use displays (e.g., selfies of college students drinking). Furthermore, students’ substance use displays have been found to robustly predict not only the poster(s)’ substance use-related outcomes (e.g., consumption, problems) but also that of their social networking peers.

Purpose of Review

The current review summarizes findings of recent literature exploring the intersection between social media and substance use.

Recent Findings

Specifically, we examine how and why such substance use displays might shape college students’ internalized norms surrounding substance use and how they impact their substance use-related behaviors.


Additional social media-related interventions are needed in order to target reduction of consumption among this at-risk group. We discuss the technological and methodological challenges inherent to conducting this type of research and devising interventions in this domain.


Alcohol Marijuana Tobacco Social networking sites University students 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Mai-Ly N. Steers, Megan A. Moreno, and Clayton Neighbors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mai-Ly N. Steers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan A. Moreno
    • 2
    • 3
  • Clayton Neighbors
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Seattle Children’s Research InstituteSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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