Key Research

Roles of Cyberbullying, Sleep, and Physical Activity In Mediating the Effects of Social Media Use On Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Young People In England: A Secondary Analysis of Longitudinal Data

Key Takeaways:

  • Outcomes measured were life satisfaction, happiness, and anxiety rated from 1 to 10 by participants.  
  • Absence of cyberbullying, adequate sleep, and physical activity were identified as potential mediators of the effects of social media.
  • While too social media use is problematic, it can be mitigated by physical activity, sleep, and prevention or increased resilience to cyberbullying.

 

LiveMore ScreenLess’ Summary

The relationship between social media use and mental health and wellbeing in young people is a cause of concern. The associations between the frequency of social media use and later mental health and wellbeing in adolescents, and how these effects might be mediated, was examined.

Considered was the frequency of social media use of participants aged 13–14 years through  participants  aged 15–16 years. Outcomes measured were life satisfaction, happiness, and anxiety rated from 1 to 10 by participants.  Absence of cyberbullying, adequate sleep, and physical activity were identified as potential mediators of the effects of social media.

Especially noted were the mental health harms related to  frequent social media use by girls. These harms might be due to a combination of exposure to cyberbullying or displacement of sleep or physical activity, whereas other mechanisms appear to be operative in boys. Interventions to promote mental health should include efforts to prevent or increase resilience to cyberbullying and ensure adequate sleep and physical activity in young people.

Prof Russell M Viner, PhD, Aswathikutty Gireesh, MSc, Neza Stiglic, MSc, Lee D Hudson, PhD, Anne-Lise Goddings, PhD, Joseph L Ward, MBBS, Dasha E Nicholls, MD. Roles of cyberbullying, sleep, and physical activity in mediating the effects of social media use on mental health and wellbeing among young people in England: a secondary analysis of longitudinal data. Lancet Child and Adolescent Health,  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 10, P685-696, OCTOBER 2019

Topics: Cyberbullying , Sleep , Social Media , Social/Emotional Learning

Year: 2019

Participants: 12,866 young people from age 13 years to 16 years in England