sample research proposal apa 7th edition

sample research proposal apa 7th edition

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

1. Introduction

The first step in identifying the effects of social media on mental health will be to define social media. This is to understand what the possible causes or effects may be given the resources available on such sites. By gaining information from the public or people used as examples, the reader will also gain a sense of some of the personal experiences felt as a result of social media. Illustrating better the ways in which social media is affecting people today.

The reason why this topic is being discussed is because the author has an interest in the differing effects of social media. The author also comes from the generation where social media has a major impact on the daily lives of young people. Given the content of this question, it is important to those concerned with teenagers and young people as social media is as much a part of their lives as it is to the authors. This information can help to identify those who are being affected by mental illness as a result of social media and what type of mental illness this may be. This can lead to better recognition and treatment for those affected.

The discussion will be about the ways in which social media can have an effect on mental health. This will include discussing the types of people who are susceptible and why. The discussion will move on to the psychological effects of social media and will then examine the different ways people may be diagnosed with a mental illness as a result of social media.

The internet and social media are becoming major parts of how people communicate and spend their time. With the increase of social media and the internet, it is not a wonder why the effects may be negative for many. Social media has some great perks. It has made it easier to keep in touch with family and friends, for example, throughout the ages. But society has to consider what, if any, are the long-term effects of social media. One of the concerns with the widespread usage of social media is the declining mental health of teenagers and young adults. This raises the question of whether there is a positive correlation between the two. Could something as simple as social media cause an increase in mental illness among the youth in today’s society?

2. Literature Review

Social media has become very popular. Instagram and Facebook are ranked in the top 10 social networking sites. Instagram is widely used by young adults; it is ranked sixth and Facebook is ranked second. These social media applications allow people to communicate with one another and also allow people to capture and share photos. Adolescents who are already struggling with self-identity issues may find it difficult when they are using a social media application. Since Instagram is widely used by young adults, it is important to know that during adolescence, young adults are going through a state of self-identity. According to Donald Winnicott, youth now have to choose between going out and experimenting or choosing to stay and missing out on the social experiences. They have access to the social experience that they may not have been invited to through the photo sharing application. The impact that Instagram has on youth can lead to a negative body image or even worse, it could lead to self-harm or depression (Rae Ann Knopf, 2012). Adolescents are very impressionable when it comes to what society thinks of them and how others view them. A poor body image may result because a youth had compared themselves to someone else. Since there are millions of users on these social network platforms, it’s quite likely that a youth may feel pressured to look a certain way because of the amount of models or celebrities they see on their timeline. Cyberbullying is also an issue that affects adolescents and even young adults who are attending college. Ottes and Turley (2013) conducted a small study on a sample of 239 college students and elucidated that the students who had a high dominance of social media use, especially at night, were interlinked to high levels of narcissism and negatively associated with self-esteem. These college students had to cope with ongoing cyberbullying, and there are cases of college students who have committed suicide, which may have been a result of cyberbullying. Yvette Coyler and Mitch Prinstein (2011) study indicates that there is a positive correlation to recent narcissism and youth. This may be due to several environmental factors. With the evidence from these studies, it’s clear that social network has a huge impact on youth in a negative way.

3. Methodology

The CESD-R is a short, 20-item version of the original scale. It is a questionnaire that asks how often you have felt this way during the last week. This questionnaire measures symptoms defined as depression by the American Psychiatric Association.

The SWLS is a 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one’s life. The scale usually takes only a minute or so to complete.

The GHQ is a screening device for identifying minor psychiatric disorders in community settings or non-psychiatric clinical settings. It has been extensively used in epidemiological studies and health surveys.

The survey was composed of three different questionnaires which were primarily self-report based. These questionnaires were the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and finally the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised (CESD-R).

Participants were 287 undergraduate students from the University of Ottawa who participated in exchange for course credit in psychology. Students were divided into groups of 20-30 where they were seated in a theater and provided with questionnaires. These participants were in the age range of 17-25.

4. Findings and Analysis

Hasan and Bagdonis examined the impact of social media on male body image and disordered eating in late adolescents. Qualitative studies provided evidence of the media’s role in promoting the muscular ideal for men, although there is little evidence to suggest that male body image disturbance due to social media images parallel those of women. A survey of 324 college men assessed how specific internet sources contribute to men’s drive for muscularity and dissatisfaction with specific body parts. This analysis provides valuable information for understanding how different forms and features of modern media are related to body image concerns in men.

Online environments, influenced by the use of social media platforms, affect body image and shape, self-esteem, and mood. A meta-analysis of 25 articles, featuring female adolescent and young adult age groups, examined the impact of exposure to internet-based social media on body image and its related concerns. Five factors of media effect were assessed – information, comparison, positive mood, awareness, and self-appraisal. Information and awareness were significantly related to body image and its related concerns. Results revealed that exposure to internet-based images may influence female adolescents’ body image through unhappiness with their bodies and desire to be thinner. Similarly, a longitudinal study of 259 female first-year college students showed that baseline Facebook use and self-objectification predicted changes in body shame, dietary restraint, and urges to engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors at 20-week follow-up. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted to ascertain which form of appearance comparison best predicted each body image concern, following main effects. Upward appearance comparison predicted body and weight dissatisfaction, whereas downward comparison predicted lesser dieting and exercise to control weight. These findings have causal implications for appearance comparison theory, and suggest that targeting specific forms of comparison may lead to the alleviation of body image concerns influenced by social media. Leland et al., further suggest that long-term effects should also be investigated to determine whether appearance comparisons on Facebook predict subsequent behavior.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

Dose of exposure to social media is also of relevance in determining vulnerability of mental health. It has been found that young adults who spend the most time using social media throughout the day have a higher rate of reporting perceived stress. This indeed should not be the only method of stress reduction for young adults. High levels of stress can have unhealthy effects with an increased susceptibility to infection and the acceleration of biological ageing, increasing vulnerability to multiple physical health problems. Sufferers of ‘Facebook depression’, defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression, are at very high risk also with consideration of the overlap in mental health and physical health disadvantages. Death is also an increased risk with the majority of suicide cases in the US having a potentially treatable mental disorder, undiagnosed and untreated. With heavy use of social media and the detrimental effects on mental health, prevention with mental health promotion is of high importance.

It has been concluded that there are numerous differences of use of social media between adolescents and adults. The impact on young people’s mental health and well-being is of particular concern, with notable patterns of use leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, levels of excessive use and the display of pro-suicidal web content have been increasing in recent years. With suicide being the third most common cause of death in the adolescent age group, immediate preventative action needs to be taken and the promotion of mental health prioritised. This type of youth-oriented behaviour online suggests the need for consideration of online interventions with cognitive behavioural approaches.

This final section details the conclusions which have been reached as a result of this report, and provides recommendations to sufferers, carers, social networking sites and further research.

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