The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study

Background: With the rise of social media, adolescents have become increasingly reliant on social media platforms for communication, information sharing, and entertainment. While social media has its benefits, such as increased connectivity and access to information, studies have shown that social media use can negatively impact mental health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety. However, the long-term effects of social media use on mental health among adolescents are not well understood.

Research Question: How does social media use impact mental health outcomes among adolescents over time?

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that increased social media use will be associated with poorer mental health outcomes among adolescents over time.

Methods: We propose a longitudinal study that will follow a sample of adolescents aged 13-17 over a two-year period. We will use a mixed-methods approach that combines survey data with qualitative interviews to better understand the impact of social media use on mental health outcomes. Participants will complete a baseline survey that assesses their social media use, mental health outcomes, and other relevant variables, such as demographics and baseline mental health. They will then complete follow-up surveys at six-month intervals over the two-year period. Additionally, we will conduct qualitative interviews with a subset of participants at the six-month and 12-month follow-up points to better understand their experiences with social media and mental health outcomes.

Data Analysis: We will use descriptive statistics to examine the distribution of social media use and mental health outcomes among participants at baseline and over time. We will also use regression analysis to examine the association between social media use and mental health outcomes while controlling for relevant variables. The qualitative data will be analyzed using thematic analysis to identify common themes related to social media use and mental health outcomes.

Expected Results: We expect to find that increased social media use is associated with poorer mental health outcomes among adolescents over time. Additionally, we expect to identify common themes related to social media use and mental health outcomes through the qualitative interviews.

Conclusion: This study has the potential to provide valuable insights into the long-term impact of social media use on mental health among adolescents. The findings may have important implications for interventions aimed at promoting healthy social media use and improving mental health outcomes among this population.

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