Social Media Use and Perceived Emotional Support Among US Young Adults
- 3.2k Downloads
Low emotional support is associated with poor health outcomes. Engagement with face-to-face social networks is one way of increasing emotional support. However, it is not yet known whether engagement with proliferating electronic social networks is similarly associated with increased emotional support. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess associations between social media use and perceived emotional support in a large, nationally-representative sample. In October 2014, we collected data from 1796 U.S. adults ages 19–32. We assessed social media use using both total time spent and frequency of visits to each of the 11 most popular social media platforms. Our dependent variable was perceived emotional support as measured by the brief Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) emotional support scale. A multivariable model including all sociodemographic covariates and accounting for survey weights demonstrated that, compared with the lowest quartile of time on social media, being in the highest quartile (spending two or more hours per day) was significantly associated with decreased odds of having higher perceived emotional support (AOR 0.62, 95 % CI 0.40, 0.94). However, compared with those in the lowest quartile, being in the highest quartile regarding frequency of social media use was not significantly associated with perceived emotional support (AOR 0.70, 95 % CI 0.45, 1.09). In conclusion, while the cross-sectional nature of these data hinder inference regarding directionality, it seems that heavy users of social media may actually feel less and not more emotional support.
KeywordsEmotional support Social media Social networks PROMIS (patient reported outcomes measurement information system) Nationally-representative data Young adults
Dr. Primack is supported in part by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R01-CA140150).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- 10.Knoll, N., & Schwarzer, R. (2002). Gender and age differences in social support: A study of East German migrants. Heart disease: Environment, stress and gender (pp. 198–210). Berlin: IOS Press.Google Scholar
- 12.Glanz, K., Rimer, B. K., & Viswanath, K. (2008). Health behavior and health education: Theory, research and practice (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- 14.Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2008). Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337(a2338), 1–9.Google Scholar
- 17.Pew Research Center. (2014). Social networking factsheet. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6bXTEQ2Xk.
- 22.Hampton, K., Goulet, L.S., Rainie, L., & Purcell, K. (2011). Social networking sites and our lives. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6cqHMG4DH.
- 25.Thompson, C. (2006). Brave new world of digital intimacy. The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6cUlQtC7z.
- 26.Pollet, T. V., Roberts, S. G. B., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2011). Use of social network sites and instant messaging does not lead to increased offline social network size, or to emotionally closer relationships with offline network members. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(4), 253–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 28.Wright, K. B., Rosenberg, J., Egbert, N., Ploeger, N. A., Bernard, D. R., & King, S. (2013). Communication competence, social support, and depression among college students: A model of Facebook and face-to-face support network influence. Journal of Health Communication, 18(1), 41–57.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 29.Meyrowitz, J. (1985). No sense of place: The impact of electronic media on social behavior. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 30.Turkle, S. (2012). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- 32.Pew Research Center. (2015). Social media update 2014. Washington DC. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6ajEhvS11.
- 33.GfK KnowledgePanel®. (2013). KnowledgePanel Design Summary. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6ajEWO5mb.
- 34.Cella, D., Riley, W., Stone, A., et al. (2010). The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) developed and tested its first wave of adult self-reported health outcome item banks: 2005–2008. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 63(11), 1179–1194.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 37.PROMIS. (2012). Domain framework—social health. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6bdksQYLz.
- 38.Long, J. S., & Freese, J. (2006). Regression models for categorical dependent variables using stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.Google Scholar
- 39.Nielsen. (2012). State of the media: The social media report 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6bXTvRwTJ.
- 40.StataCorp. (2011). Stata statistical software: Version 12. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
- 43.Burke, M., Marlow, C. & Lento, T. (2010). Social network activity and social well-being. In CHI 2010, April 10–15, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. (pp. 1909–1912).Google Scholar
- 44.Lin, L., Sidani, J. E., Shensa, A., & Primack, B. A. (in press). Associations between social media use and depression among U.S. young adults. Depression and Anxiety.Google Scholar
- 45.Bowman, N. D. (2016). Video gaming as co-production. The intesection of audiences and production in a digital world (pp. 107–123). New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- 48.McCloskey, W., Iwanicki, S., Lauterbach, D., Giammittorio, D. M., & Maxwell, K. (2015). Are Facebook “friends” helpful? Development of a Facebook-based measure of social support and examination of relationships among depression, quality of life, and social support. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(9), 499–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 50.Best, J.C. (2014). Don’t fight flames with flames. Social media arguments: Can’t win propositions. New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.webcitation.org/6cqMsx3Ix.
- 51.Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- 53.Rains, S. A., Brunner, S. R. & Oman, K. (2014). Self-disclosure and new communication technologies: The implications of receiving superficial self-disclosures from friends. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407514562561.
- 54.Petronio, S. (2002). Boundaries of privacy: Dialects of discourse. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
- 58.Ophir, E., Nass, C., & Wagner, A.D. (2009). Cognitive control in media multitaskers. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (vol. 106, pp. 15583–15587).Google Scholar