Social Media & Understanding Relationships with Friends (S.M.U.R.F. Study)

Project start date and end date: 02/2019-2024

Background:
Social media use is ubiquitous among adolescents and is often used as a tool for socializing with peers. Adolescent socioemotional wellbeing is often driven by peer relationships and interactions, yet there is a paucity of research examining day-to-day social media peer interactions among adolescents, their predictors, and their prospective associations with adolescent socioemotional wellbeing.

Objectives:
The research plan tests a model in which childhood traits predict a trajectory of positive and negative peer interactions on social media in early adolescence, which in turn predict a range of socioemotional wellbeing indicators in the middle adolescent years. Specific aims include:

  • Identify styles of social media peer interactions among adolescents at age 13.
  • Test the hypothesis that better childhood self-regulation is associated with more adaptive social media peer interactions in early adolescence.
  • Test the hypothesis that more adaptive social media peer interactions in early adolescence are associated with greater subjective wellbeing in middle adolescence.

Research Topics & Methods:
Data collection and analysis methods include

  • Coding of directly observed social media using an adolescent-driven codebook
  • Periodic survey-based questionnaires regarding socioemotional wellbeing
  • Secondary analysis of previously collected childhood data

Implications:
The knowledge gained from this proposal will set the stage for future work using social media that can ultimately enhance adolescent health and wellbeing through positive peer relationships.

Funder:
The project is funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Project Manager:
Victoria Adkins

300 North Ingalls, Rm 6D09
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456

Phone: 734-232-2165
Email: vadktori@med.umich.edu

For more information, please contact:
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine
300 North Ingalls, Rm 6E07
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456
Phone
734-232-9962
Email
eselkie@umich.edu