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Title: "Social media can affect wellbeing both negatively and positively" : a Q methodology study exploring adolescent experiences of using social media
Author: Pasdari, Leanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 8504 8598
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Findings from the literature review indicated that there is an association between social media use and mental health difficulties. However, research into the impact of social media use and mental health difficulties in adolescents aged 13-16 within the UK is limited, studies that include the voice of the young people are even more limited. The aims of this study were to consider how young people, aged 13-16, view Social Media and how it impacts on their well-being. In the main I aimed to find out what young people think needs to change about social media in order to minimise the negative impact, or maximise the positive impact on their well-being, as a result capturing the views of young people on an issue that is prominent in today's society. On account of my aspirations to include the voice of adolescents in the research, and in order to explore the complexities of using social media on adolescent mental health, it was identified that Q methodology was the most appropriate method to use. Subsequently, Q methodology was used to investigate how 37 adolescents (aged 13-16) ranked 49 statements relating to their experiences of using social media. The statements were sorted by participants from most agree to most disagree according to individual preference. The resulting configuration of statements generated by the participants was analysed using factor extraction, this yielded a five factor solution, with interpreted factors (viewpoints) named as: 'Using social media puts pressure on body image and how you feel you should live your life; safe use of social media should be taught', 'Using social media is important for connecting with others and is entertaining. It is not a problem for me; in fact, it makes me feel good!', 'Using social media affects my relationships with others, makes me feel judged, and makes it easier to get bullied', 'Using social media is a problem for me; it makes me feel judged and I cannot express my 'true' self on there', and 'Using social media is addictive and should be moderated more effectively'. The findings are discussed in relation to existing literature and the potential next steps of individuals, schools, parents, social media platforms, and professionals, particularly Educational Psychologists, are considered including the development of a Social Media Support Screening Tool. Within the final chapter limitations of the present research are acknowledged, with suggestions and recommendations made for future research.
Supervisor: Hughes, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available