DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastImpact of Social Media on Mental Health
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Update: 2019-10-221


434- Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC

Executive Director:

Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast, Case Management Toolbox

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– Examine the extent of social media use

– Explore the positive and negative impacts of social media on mental and physical health

– Identify resiliency factors

What Research Tells Us

– The number of social media accounts is moderately correlated inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, ODD, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, as well as fear of missing out (FoMO) and loneliness.

– Chicken/Egg-

What Research Tells Us

– Internet use in general significantly affects participation in IRL experiences.

– Increased time spent online is related to

– A decline in communication with family members (or inadequate support to begin with)

– Reduction of the internet user's social circle

– Reduction in sleep

– Increased feelings of depression and loneliness

– Chicken or egg

– Internet cause or ancillary behaviors cause-

What Research Tells Us

– People spend the majority of their time on SNS looking at peers’ profiles and photos, rather than posting or updating their own profiles

– Computer-mediated communication may lead to the mistaken impressions about physical appearance, educational level, success, intelligence, moral integrity, and happiness of other people, thus increasing depression.

– Constant self-evaluation and competition with other users, incorrectly perceiving characteristics of others and feelings of jealousy may positively or negatively influence self-esteem.

What Research Tells Us

– Technology-based Social Comparison and Feedback-Seeking (SCFS) was found to be associated with depressive symptoms when comparing people with similar levels of overall frequencies of technology use, offline Excessive Reassurance-Seeking (ERS), and prior depressive symptoms

– Stronger associations between technology-based SCFS and depressive symptoms for unpopular individuals

– May increase FoMo

– Allows for unhealthy perseveration

What Research Tells Us

– Higher psychological distress was associated with displaying depression language on Facebook and with less satisfaction with friend’s responses

– Depression was negatively correlated with how much social support participants thought they received from their Facebook networks

– Sudden cessation of online social networking (i.e., lack of Internet connection) may in some chronic users cause signs and symptoms of psychological withdrawal

– Some researchers identify that due to the wide array of activities available on SNS, it is difficult to conclude which parts contribute to preoccupation and withdrawal (gaming, FoMo, attention etc…)


– Easily reach millions of people with information to improve their health literacy

– Increase health-related behaviors through gamification and social support (Garmin,, SparkPeople)

– Allows for potential screening and early identification of problems #bigbrother

– May bring to light conversations and behaviors that existed all along IRL

– Increases communication with IRL friends at a distance

Resiliency Factors

– IRL support

– Self esteem

– A sense of belonging

– Self-awareness

– Effective communication skills

– Psychological flexibility

– Alternate sources of validation

– Understanding of the algorithms on SNS

– Fewer stranger connections


– What social media factors influence depression/anxiety in people

– Number of likes

– Whether it appears other people are happier, more successful or more popular

– Check-ins during extended absences

– Comments (support, flaming, disinhibition)

– Public presentation vs. reality

– Other factors contributing factors

– Pre-existing mood disorders

– Insufficient/ineffective IRL supports


– Social media itself is not necessarily harmful

– Social media can provide opportunities for positive interactions

– People’s reaction to social media

– May mirror their IRL activities like excessive attention seeking

– May be the opposite of RL presenting an idealized self which then makes them feel even more isolated









Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Charles Snipes