Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Social media continues to grow in popularity but has been associated with diminished mental health in some users. Social media provides a platform for social comparison, which influences how individuals evaluate their traits, abilities, and successes in achieving life milestones and, in turn, may impact psychological functioning. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether social comparison and cognitive distortions mediated the relationship between social media use and depressive symptoms in younger adults. In total, 175 adults between the ages of 18 and 29 years were recruited online (64.6% male, 34.9% female; 45.7% Asian). Participants completed anonymous surveys assessing demographic information, thinking styles, social comparison tendencies, depression levels, and social media use. Results of this study indicated a significant relationship between passive social media use and depression. Social comparison was found to be a significant predictor for both cognitive distortions (p = .001) and depression (p = .001); however, it did not mediate in the relationship between passive social media use and depression (b = .798, SE = .203, 95% CI = -.160, .656). Cognitive distortions mediated the relationship between passive social media use and depression (b = .005, t(48) = .007, p = .99). Findings indicated that as passive social media use increased, individuals used more cognitive distortions and experienced more depressive symptoms. Findings from this study contribute to understanding cognitive distortions as a mechanism underlying the well-documented relationship between passive social media use and depression.
Le, Mary, "Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship Between Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms" (2021). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 572.