Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP
Recent research on social media use suggest that over 90% of adolescents aged 13 to 17 years use the Internet and 73% spend time on social networking sites (Cingel, Lauricella, Wartella, & Conway, 2013). This makes it increasingly important for therapists to be aware of the current social media applications, as well as the risks and benefits that may accompany use. Although there is much literature on the possible benefits and risks to social media use, there is minimal research on how therapists use this information to treat an adolescent population effectively. The present study utilized a cross-sectional web-survey design to gain insight into current knowledge and attitudes of therapists regarding social media use in adolescent girls. The survey was completed by psychology clinicians and psychology practicum students (n = 98), and assessed therapist attitudes, knowledge, and experiences with social media. The survey addressed personal use of social media as well as use for adolescent clients. Results found that over 75% of participants reported they access social media profiles at least one time per day. A large majority of participants (96.8%) reported they have encountered clients with problems associated with social networking and 88.9% believed there is a need for interventions targeting social media addiction in adolescent girls. Results found that personal experiences with social media applications significantly predicted therapists’ overall attitude about social media for adolescents. Results also found that therapists’ social media use frequency significantly predicted therapists’ comfort in targeting social media topics in therapy. Results suggest therapists’ personal experiences may impact their use of interventions in therapy. Future research should look for other variables that impact therapists’ ability to discuss social media topics effectively in therapy and use social media interventions.
Hess, Kristin, "Therapist Knowledge, Attitudes Toward, and Experiences with Social Media Use in Treating Adolescent Females" (2017). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 427.