Skip to main content

Perceived Use and Effects of Social Media for 1 to 2.5 Generation Immigrant College Students with Depression: Results from a Mixed Methods Survey

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12051)

Abstract

As social media becomes more prevalent, understanding its use and its relationship with mental health is crucial, especially among marginalized populations. Immigrant college students in the United States face unique challenges that put them at an increased risk of experiencing depression. Due to barriers surrounding mental health disclosure and treatment, immigrant students may turn to social media for support. In this paper, we present the results of a mixed methods survey conducted on the perceived use and effects of social media among 83 immigrant undergraduates (from generation 1 to 2.5) with depression. Most participants perceived social media as having no effect on depression. However, others perceived social media as improving depression more than worsening it. Overall, participants feel belonging and supported but report some feelings of isolation, loneliness, and comparison when engaging with social media. Many report using social media as a distraction technique by engaging with uplifting content, which is viewed as having a positive impact on depression symptoms. For immigrant college students, it is important to feel connected and supported on social media when experiencing mental health issues while avoiding comparison and navigating the disclosure of sensitive information. While social media has an opportunity to be a promising space for immigrant college students with depression and provide access to culturally relevant resources, there are a number of challenges that need addressed.

Keywords

  • Social media
  • Immigrant
  • College student
  • Mental health
  • Depression
  • Marginalized populations

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-43687-2_11
  • Chapter length: 21 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-43687-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.

Notes

  1. 1.

    For a description, see Table 1.

  2. 2.

    It is important to note that although increasing access to more culturally competent resources and information about social media will benefit immigrant college students, social media platforms are not a replacement for clinical treatment.

References

  1. Abe-Kim, J., et al.: Use of mental health-related services among immigrant and US-born Asian Americans: results from the National Latino and Asian American study. Am. J. Public Health 97(1), 91–98 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  2. Beck, A.T., Steer, R.A., Brown, G.K.: Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio 78(2), 490–498 (1996)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Abdullah, T., Brown, T.L.: Mental illness stigma and ethnocultural beliefs, values, and norms: an integrative review. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 31(6), 934–948 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Andalibi, N., Morris, M.E., Forte, A.: Testing waters, sending clues: indirect disclosures of socially stigmatized experiences on social media. In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 2, no. CSCW, p. 19 (2018)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Andalibi, N., Ozturk, P., Forte, A.: Depression-related imagery on instagram. In: Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference Companion on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 231–234. ACM (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Andalibi, N., Ozturk, P., Forte, A.: Sensitive self-disclosures, responses, and social support on instagram: the case of #depression. In: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 1485–1500. ACM (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Anderson, M., Jiang, J.: Teens, social media & technology 2018. Pew Research Center, 31 May 2018

    Google Scholar 

  8. Appel, H., Gerlach, A.L., Crusius, J.: The interplay between Facebook use, social comparison, envy, and depression. Curr. Opin. Psychol. 9, 44–49 (2016)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  9. Arbeit, C.A., Staklis, S., Horn, L.: New American Undergraduates: Enrollment Trends and Age at Arrival of Immigrant and Second-Generation Students. Statistics in Brief, NCES 2017-414. National Center for Education Statistics (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bagroy, S., Kumaraguru, P., De Choudhury, M.: A social media based index of mental well-being in college campuses. In: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1634–1646. ACM (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Becker, M.W., Alzahabi, R., Hopwood, C.J.: Media multitasking is associated with symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Cyberpsychol. Behav. Soc. Netw. 16(2), 132–135 (2013)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  12. Bernal, G., Bonilla, J., Bellido, C.: Ecological validity and cultural sensitivity for outcome research: issues for the cultural adaptation and development of psychosocial treatments with Hispanics. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 23(1), 67–82 (1995)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  13. Brausch, A.M., Decker, K.M.: Self-esteem and social support as moderators of depression, body image, and disordered eating for suicidal ideation in adolescents. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 42(5), 779–789 (2014)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  14. Carpenter-Song, E., Chu, E., Drake, R.E., Ritsema, M., Smith, B., Alverson, H.: Ethno-cultural variations in the experience and meaning of mental illness and treatment: implications for access and utilization. Transcult. Psychiatry 47(2), 224–251 (2010)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  15. Cavazos-Rehg, P.A., et al.: An analysis of depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation content on Tumblr. Crisis 38, 44–52 (2016)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  16. Cruwys, T., et al.: Feeling connected again: interventions that increase social identification reduce depression symptoms in community and clinical settings. J. Affect. Disord. 159, 139–146 (2014)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  17. De Choudhury, M., Sharma, S.S., Logar, T., Eekhout, W., Nielsen, R.C.: Gender and cross-cultural differences in social media disclosures of mental illness. In: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 353–369. ACM (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  18. De Vries, D.A., Kühne, R.: Facebook and self-perception: individual susceptibility to negative social comparison on Facebook. Pers. Individ. Differ. 86, 217–221 (2015)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  19. Deenanath, V.: First-generation immigrant college students: an exploration of family support and career aspirations. Graduate School of University of Minnesota (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Dozois, D.J., Dobson, K.S., Ahnberg, J.L.: A psychometric evaluation of the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Psychol. Assess. 10(2), 83 (1998)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  21. Eisenberg, D., Downs, M.F., Golberstein, E., Zivin, K.: Stigma and help seeking for mental health among college students. Med. Care Res. Rev. 66(5), 522–541 (2009)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  22. Eisenberg, D., Golberstein, E., Gollust, S.E.: Help-seeking and access to mental health care in a university student population. Med. Care 45(7), 594–601 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  23. Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C.: The benefits of Facebook “friends:” social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. J. Comput. Mediat. Commun. 12(4), 1143–1168 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  24. Fisher, L., Overholser, J., Ridley, J., Braden, A., Rosoff, C.: From the outside looking in: sense of belonging, depression, and suicide risk. Psychiatry (N. Y.) 78(1), 29–41 (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fort, K., Adda, G., Cohen, K.B.: Amazon mechanical turk: gold mine or coal mine? Comput. Linguist. 37(2), 413–420 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  26. Gonzales, A.L., Hancock, J.T.: Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall: effects of exposure to Facebook on self-esteem. Cyberpsychol. Behav. Soc. Netw. 14(1–2), 79–83 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  27. Gowen, K., Deschaine, M., Gruttadara, D., Markey, D.: Young adults with mental health conditions and social networking websites: seeking tools to build community. Psychiatr. Rehabil. J. 35(3), 245 (2012)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  28. Hagen, B.: Measuring melancholy: a critique of the Beck Depression Inventory and its use in mental health nursing. Int. J. Mental Health Nurs. 16(2), 108–115 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  29. Hautasaari, A., Yamashita, N., Kudo, T.: Role of CMC in emotional support for depressed foreign students in Japan. In: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 2614–2621. ACM (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  30. Homan, C.M., Lu, N., Tu, X., Lytle, M.C., Silenzio, V.: Social structure and depression in TrevorSpace. In: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 615–625. ACM (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  31. Joiner Jr., T.E., et al.: Main predictions of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior: empirical tests in two samples of young adults. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 118(3), 634 (2009)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  32. Joormann, J., Siemer, M., Gotlib, I.H.: Mood regulation in depression: differential effects of distraction and recall of happy memories on sad mood. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 116(3), 484 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  33. Kanno, Y., Varghese, M.M.: Immigrant and refugee ESL students’ challenges to accessing four-year college education: from language policy to educational policy. J. Lang. Identity Educ. 9(5), 310–328 (2010)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  34. Kleinman, Z.: Facebook hints at hiding likes, 3 September 2019. http://bbc.com/news/technology-49562978. Accessed 5 Sept 2019

  35. Kondrat, D.C., Sullivan, W.P., Wilkins, B., Barrett, B.J., Beerbower, E.: The mediating effect of social support on the relationship between the impact of experienced stigma and mental health. Stigma Health 3(4), 305 (2018)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  36. Li, G., Zhou, X., Lu, T., Yang, J., Gu, N.: SunForum: understanding depression in a Chinese online community. In: Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 515–526. ACM (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  37. Lin, L.Y., et al.: Association between social media use and depression among US young adults. Depress. Anxiety 33(4), 323–331 (2016)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  38. Masuda, A., Boone, M.S.: Mental health stigma, self-concealment, and help-seeking attitudes among Asian American and European American college students with no help-seeking experience. Int. J. Adv. Couns. 33(4), 266–279 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  39. Maurer, R.: Social media information now required from all visa applicants, 5 June 2019. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/social-media-information-required-all-visa-applicants.aspx. Accessed 5 Sept 2019

  40. Moffett, D.: Is an immigrant considered first or second generation?, 11 March 2019. https://www.thoughtco.com/first-generation-immigrant-defined-1951570. Accessed 5 May 2019

  41. Murrieta, J., Frye, C.C., Sun, L., Ly, L.G., Cochancela, C.S., Eikey, E.V.: #Depression: findings from a literature review of 10 years of social media and depression research. In: Chowdhury, G., McLeod, J., Gillet, V., Willett, P. (eds.) iConference 2018. LNCS, vol. 10766, pp. 47–56. Springer, Cham (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78105-1_6

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  42. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B.E., Lyubomirsky, S.: Rethinking rumination. Perspect. Psychol. Sci. 3(5), 400–424 (2008)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  43. Office of the Federal Register: Implementing immediate heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits, ensuring enforcement of all laws for entry into the United States, and increasing transparency among departments and agencies of the Federal Government and for the American people (2017). https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/03/2017-06702/implementing-immediate-heightened-screening-and-vetting-of-applications-for-visas-and-other. Accessed 5 Sept 2019

  44. Panger, G.: Social comparison in social media: a look at Facebook and Twitter. In: CHI 2014 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 2095–2100. ACM (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  45. Pottie, K., Dahal, G., Georgiades, K., Premji, K., Hassan, G.: Do first generation immigrant adolescents face higher rates of bullying, violence and suicidal behaviours than do third generation and native born? J. Immigr. Minor. Health 17(5), 1557–1566 (2015)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  46. Powell, J., Clarke, A.: Information in mental health: qualitative study of mental health service users. Health Expect. 9(4), 359–365 (2006)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  47. Primack, B.A., et al.: Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: a nationally-representative study among US young adults. Comput. Hum. Behav. 69, 1–9 (2017)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  48. Quan-Haase, A., Young, A.L.: Uses and gratifications of social media: a comparison of Facebook and instant messaging. Bull. Sci. Technol. Soc. 30(5), 350–361 (2010)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  49. Radovic, A., Gmelin, T., Stein, B.D., Miller, E.: Depressed adolescents’ positive and negative use of social media. J. Adolesc. 55, 5–15 (2017)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  50. Rideout, V., Fox, S.: Digital health practices, social media use, and mental well-being among teens and young adults in the US (2018)

    Google Scholar 

  51. Rumbaut, R.G.: Ages, life stages, and generational cohorts: decomposing the immigrant first and second generations in the United States. Int. Migrat. Rev. 38(3), 1160–1205 (2004)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  52. Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C.G., Sidani, J.E., Bowman, N.D., Marshal, M.P., Primack, B.A.: Problematic social media use and depressive symptoms among US young adults: a nationally-representative study. Soc. Sci. Med. 182, 150–157 (2017)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  53. Takano, K., Tanno, Y.: Self-rumination, self-reflection, and depression: self-rumination counteracts the adaptive effect of self-reflection. Behav. Res. Ther. 47(3), 260–264 (2009)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  54. Trevelyan, E.N., et al.: Characteristics of the US Population by Generational Status, 2013. US Department of Commerce, Economic and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  55. Tummala-Narra, P., Claudius, M.: Perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms among immigrant-origin adolescents. Cult. Divers. Ethnic Minor. Psychol. 19(3), 257 (2013)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  56. Veretilo, P., Billick, S.B.: Psychiatric illness and Facebook: a case report. Psychiatr. Q. 83(3), 385–389 (2012)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  57. Vidourek, R.A., King, K.A., Nabors, L.A., Lynch, A., Merianos, A.: College students’ perceived confidence in mental health help-seeking. Int. J. Mental Health Promot. 16(2), 83–90 (2014)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  58. Vogel, E.A., Rose, J.P., Roberts, L.R., Eckles, K.: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychol. Pop. Media Cult. 3(4), 206 (2014)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  59. Wang, J., Mann, F., Lloyd-Evans, B., Ma, R., Johnson, S.: Associations between loneliness and perceived social support and outcomes of mental health problems: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry 18(1), 156 (2018)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  60. Wong, E.C., Collins, R.L., Cerully, J., Seelam, R., Roth, B.: Racial and ethnic differences in mental illness stigma and discrimination among Californians experiencing mental health challenges. Rand Health Q. 6(2), 6 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  61. Young, C.B., Fang, D.Z., Zisook, S.: Depression in Asian-American and Caucasian undergraduate students. J. Affect. Disord. 125(1–3), 379–382 (2010)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  62. Zhang, R.: The stress-buffering effect of self-disclosure on Facebook: an examination of stressful life events, social support, and mental health among college students. Comput. Hum. Behav. 75, 527–537 (2017)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  63. Depression. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2017). https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics/mental-illness/depression.htm. Accessed 2 July 2017

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) Director Dr. Kayla Booth, our research advisor and i3 Assistant Director Dr. Elizabeth Eikey. This work was supported by the National Center for Research Resources, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the NIH (UL1 TR001414). It is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christopher C. Frye .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Frye, C.C., Ly, L.G., Murrieta, J., Sun, L., Cochancela, C.S., Eikey, E.V. (2020). Perceived Use and Effects of Social Media for 1 to 2.5 Generation Immigrant College Students with Depression: Results from a Mixed Methods Survey. In: Sundqvist, A., Berget, G., Nolin, J., Skjerdingstad, K. (eds) Sustainable Digital Communities. iConference 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12051. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43687-2_11

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43687-2_11

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-43686-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-43687-2

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)