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Digital Media as a Medium for Adolescent Identity Development

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The aim of the present study was to examine the interrelationships between adolescent media activity, adaptive or maladaptive cognitions related to media use, and identity development processing styles. Participating in the study were 359 adolescents (47% males and 53% females), ages 11–18 years (mean age 14.52, SD 2.24). They completed the Media Activity Form—Youth Self-Report (Achenbach, T. (2018). Media Activity Form – Youth Self-Report. A self-report questionnaire developed by T. Achenbach, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire, USA, for purposes of media activity research.), and the Identity Style Inventory ( Berzonsky et al., Psychological Assessment 25:893–904, 2013). The results showed negative associations between informational identity processing style and time spent gaming, as well as negative associations with time spent communicating via digital media. Informational identity processing style was positively associated with adaptive media-related cognitions, such as schoolwork benefits from media use. Normative identity processing style was negatively associated with time spend using media for schoolwork or for communicating. Diffuse—avoidant identity processing style was positively associated with time spent gaming, and positively associated with ratings of preoccupation with being on media. The results are discussed in regard to practical implications and recommendations for educators and counselors of adolescents.

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Correspondence to Anika Miltuze.

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Sebre, S.B., Miltuze, A. Digital Media as a Medium for Adolescent Identity Development. Tech Know Learn 26, 867–881 (2021).

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