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How do people use social network sites to regulate their emotions and wellbeing?

This thesis explores the relationship between social network site use, emotion regulation and mental health. As social network site use becomes more ubiquitous in western countries, adverse health consequences are claimed to stem from its overuse. This thesis seeks to determine whether emotion regulation styles play a pivotal role in how users interact with social network sites, and the impact of those styles. By measuring the amount of time participants spend on social network sites each day, this thesis will explore three hypotheses. One hundred and fourteen participants from a New Zealand university were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group and completed pre-test and post-test surveys consisting of the DASS, ERQ, and a questionnaire about attitudes toward social media. The experimental group were asked to continue their social network site usage as normal for one week, then reduce it by half, while the control group kept using social network sites as normal. The results showed that participants in the experimental group experienced lower rates of stress and anxiety, although their social network site use was not significantly different. Maladaptive emotion regulation strategies were also found to be associated with increases in depression and anxiety. Emotion regulation shared no relationship with quantity of social network site use. These results provide evidence that issues associated with social network site use is not solely due to quantity of use. This thesis adds to a growing body of research investigating healthy social network site use and draws links to how people use these sites and regulate their emotions while using them.
Type of thesis
Schofield, J. S. (2020). How do people use social network sites to regulate their emotions and wellbeing? (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13571
The University of Waikato
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