Perceived Mental Health Effects and Social Media Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Perceived Mental Health Effects and Social Media Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Erica Williams

Erica Williams

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Ellen Selkie, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: CHEAR: Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 13
Presenter: 4

Event Link


Since March of 2020, the United States of America has been in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has created uncertainty and forced many people to live in the unknown. Social media has always been a platform for many users to express themselves and to use in their downtime, but since the pandemic social media may have been used more often. During the pandemic, recommendations were issued by government officials to stay home and reduce as much person-to-person interaction to slow the outbreak, but those orders have been associated with adverse mental health effects. A short online survey was distributed to fellow peers to report social media habits before and during the pandemic. Survey responses showed that during the pandemic, feelings of sadness increased in 63% of respondents, anticipation increased in 55.6% of respondents, and the feeling of depression increased in 59.3% of respondents. On the other hand, during the pandemic the feeling of happiness decreased in 59.3% of respondents, joy decreased in 51.9% of respondents, and the feeling of excitement decreased in 59.3% of respondents. Before the pandemic only 3.7% of the respondents spent more than 20 hours weekly on social media, but since the pandemic that number has increased to 33% of the respondents being on social media for more than 20 hours a week. This study is part of a growing body of research regarding behavior change during the pandemic. Data illustrate how social media usage may be related to experiences and may impact users’ emotions.

Authors: Erica Williams, Ellen Selkie
Research Method: Survey Research

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