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

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

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.

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

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.

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

For more information, please contact:
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine
300 North Ingalls, Rm 6E07
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456