Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Social media and mental health

Additional information:

Type of assignment:                      BSc. thesis

Internal/external:                          Internal
How many students?                    2
Supervision:                                      Individually / in (sub)groups

Includes data collection?             Yes

Type of research:                           Quantitative research

Number of ECTS?                           15 ECTS


Research assignment:

Social media has permeated almost every aspect of people’s lives. It is becoming an essential part of people’s daily life and a prevailing tool of developing and maintaining relationships (Elphinston and Noller, 2011). On the one hand, social media makes people’s social life more colorful, providing users various choices for connecting and getting familiar with friends. On the other hand, there are more individuals becoming dependent on social media, which may induce detrimental outcomes of people’s physical and psychological life (Porter et al., 2012).


Extensive studies have examined the effects of social media on mental health, but the results were mixed (Best et al., 2014). Some studies proposed that using social media can positively impact individuals’ life satisfaction through the benefits of increased social capital, perceived social support or increased self-esteem, (e.g. Nabi et al., 2013) but others found harmful effect such as depression, social anxiety, jealousy and addiction (e.g., Chen and Lee, 2013).


In this research project, we want to examine how these different effects emerge. Possible research questions are: What are the underlying factors (e.g. fear of missing out, social overload) that explain the positive and/or negative effects of social media use. Which individual factors (e.g. personality, compassion, gender) are related to the positive and negative outcomes of social media use?


Who do we look for?:

Students that are motivated and have a specific interest in social media use. We are looking for students with a strong interest in quantitative research and who are motivated to collect data among their peers about this topic.






Best, P., Manktelow, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent

wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children and Youth Services Review, 41, 27-36.

Chen, W., & Lee, K. (2013). Sharing, liking, commenting, and distressed? The pathway between

Facebook interaction and psychological distress. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16, 728-734.

Elphinston, R. A., & Noller, P. (2011). Time to face it! Facebook intrusion and the implications for

romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social

Networking, 14, 631-635.

Nabi, R.L., Prestin, A., & So, J. (2013). Facebook friends with (health) benefits? Exploring social

network site use and perceptions of social support, stress, and well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16, 721-727.

Porter, K., Mitchell, J., Grace, M., Shinosky, S., & Gordon, V. (2012). A study of the effects of social

media use and addiction on relationship satisfaction. Meta-communicate, 2, 1-27