John E. Schulenberg

Implications for socio-emotional well-being from adolescent peer interaction on social media

Research Project Description
Ellen Selkie, Joyce M. Lee, Alison Leslie Miller, Julie C. Lumeng, Niko Kaciroti, Sarita A. Yardi Schoenebeck, John E. Schulenberg

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. Dr. Selkie is a board-certified Adolescent Medicine pediatrician whose prior research has focused on the ways social media may relate to adolescent health. This mentored career development award will allow her to learn additional methods for studying adolescent peer interactions on social media. She has built a multidisciplinary mentoring team from the University of Michigan Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology, Health Behavior and Health Education, Information, and Biostatistics as well as the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics. This team will provide methodological and content expertise and guide her Training and Career Goals, which are to gain expertise and skills in: 1) theoretical models of child and adolescent social and emotional development; 2) primary data collection for research; 3) creating and testing conceptual models of peer social interaction on digital media in adolescents using principles of participatory design; 4) statistical analytic techniques unique to assessing longitudinal and potentially bidirectional associations; 5) information science and social computing to inform future studies on social media behaviors in adolescents. 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. The aims are: Aim 1: Characterize the range of peer interaction (i.e., positive (compliments, social support), neutral (planning activities, statements of fact), or negative (criticism, exclusion)) among adolescents at age 13 through creation of a codebook to be applied to social media content; Aim 2: Test the hypotheses that higher positive emotion regulation, inhibitory control, prosocial behavior, and surgency in childhood are associated with positive adolescent peer interactions, while greater anger, frustration, and emotional symptoms in childhood are associated with negative adolescent peer interactions; Aim 3: Identify the associations between positive and negative peer interactions at age 13, as measured through social media, and socioemotional wellbeing indicators (i.e., self-esteem, loneliness, social connectedness with classmates and close friends, positive and negative affect, perceived stress) at ages 15-16. These Aims will be carried out through direct observation of social media behavior in a cohort of 150 low-income adolescents, followed by analysis of associations between these behaviors, previously collected data on child characteristics, and data on socioemotional wellbeing in later adolescence. This award will provide Dr. Selkie with the training and experience to become an independent investigator and develop future R01 grant applications.

Funding: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1 K23 HD 093815 01 A1)

Funding Period: 8/7/2018 to 7/31/2023

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