Slide background

The effect of social media on well-being differs from adolescent to adolescent.

Do social media benefit or undermine adolescents’ well-being? Many parents, health practitioners, and scholars are concerned about the question. A new study by Project AWeSome shows that the answer is not a simple yes or no: The effect differs from adolescent to adolescent. The study is now published in Scientific Reports.


While numerous empirical studies have investigated the association between social media use and adolescent well-being, it is still an open question whether the effects are unique for each individual adolescent. Project AWeSome’s team tried to find an answer to the question.


In an experience sampling study among 14- and 15-year-olds, they sampled adolescents’ experiences six times per day for one week. They analyzed 2,155 real-time assessments of adolescents’ social media use and momentary affective well-being to quantify differences in adolescents’ susceptibility to the effects of social media. They found that the majority of adolescents do not experience any changes in well-being related to their social media use. And if they do experience any changes, these are more often positive than negative. For instance, while most adolescents (74%) did not feel better or worse when they had spent more time viewing posts or stories of others on Instagram, some felt better (17%), and a few (9%) felt worse.


Free access to the full paper is available here.


To learn more about this research, please contact Dr. Ine Beyens at Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.


Full citation:

Beyens, I., Pouwels, J. L., van Driel, I. I., Keijsers, L., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2020). The effect of social media on well-being differs from adolescent to adolescent. Scientific Reports, 10.  doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67727-7

Dit project wordt gefinancierd door de NWO-Spinoza premie, toegekend aan Patti Valkenburg

nwo2uva logo