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. 2019 May 21;116(21):10226-10228.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902058116. Epub 2019 May 6.

Social Media's Enduring Effect on Adolescent Life Satisfaction

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Free PMC article

Social Media's Enduring Effect on Adolescent Life Satisfaction

Amy Orben et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

In this study, we used large-scale representative panel data to disentangle the between-person and within-person relations linking adolescent social media use and well-being. We found that social media use is not, in and of itself, a strong predictor of life satisfaction across the adolescent population. Instead, social media effects are nuanced, small at best, reciprocal over time, gender specific, and contingent on analytic methods.

Keywords: adolescents; life satisfaction; longitudinal; random-intercept cross-lagged panel models; social media.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Results of a random-intercept cross-lagged panel model specification curve analysis relating social media use and life satisfaction. (Left) Between-person correlations. (Center) Within-person effects of social media use on life satisfaction. (Right) Within-person effects of life satisfaction on social media use. Each point on the x axis represents a different combination of analytical decisions (i.e., life satisfaction domain, gender, number of waves, estimator, data imputation, and control variables). The “dashboard” depicts which gender and life satisfaction domain the specific combination of analytical decisions analyzed; the resulting ψ value (Left) or β value (Center and Right) is shown in the plot above (red indicates P > 0.05, black indicates P < 0.05). For the unabridged figure, including the complete set of analytic decisions and underlying code, see doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/4XP3V.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Relation between life satisfaction and social media use in female (Upper) and male (Lower) adolescents. (Left) Between-person correlations. (Center) Within-person effects of social media use on life satisfaction. (Right) Within-person effects of life satisfaction on social media use. Small dots represent results of each possible combination of theoretically defensible analytical decisions. Large circles represent results of the best practice models (white indicates P > 0.05, black indicates P < 0.05).

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