Key Research

Social Media Use, Social Media Stress, and Sleep: Examining Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Relationships In Adolescents

Key Takeaways:

  • Young women were more vulnerable to the long-term effects of social media stress on daytime sleepiness
  • Activation of stress hormones tends to hinder sleep
  • Researchers should particularly focus on how adolescents perceive their social media use instead of solely examining the frequency 

 

 

LiveMore ScreenLess’ Summary

This study examined the associations between social media use, social media stress, delayed sleep patterns, and daytime sleepiness. While previous research in this topic has focused on adults, young people are the primary users of most social media platforms. To enrich our understanding of how these factors play out in the lives of young people, adolescents from seven secondary schools throughout the Netherlands participated in three rounds of surveys. 

Analyses suggested that frequent use of social media increased the likelihood of experiencing social media-related stress and daytime sleepiness. Additionally, adolescents who experienced more social media-related stress reported greater delays in falling asleep across all three rounds of questioning. Notably, the study found that girls were more vulnerable to the long-term effects of social media stress on daytime sleepiness. Underlying mechanisms considered include the activation of stress hormones, which tends to hinder sleep. Other significant explanatory factors could include maladaptive coping strategies such as the role of rumination in delaying sleep following social media use, and the role of disengagement from stress-related problems by seeking other distractions that hinder sleep. The study advises that “researchers should particularly focus on how adolescents perceive their [social media] use instead of solely examining the frequency of [social media] use” (558).

Winneke A. van der Schuur, Susanne E. Baumgartner, and Sindy R. Sumter, Social Media Use, Social Media Stress, and Sleep: Examining Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Relationships in Adolescents. Health Communication 34:5 (552-559), 2018.

Topics: Sleep , Social Media , Stress

Year: 2018

Hosting University:

Participants: 1,441 adolescents, 11–15 years 

Data Collection: cross-sectional and longitudinal (surveys completed in at least one of three waves that were three to four months apart)