Online social networking and psychological experiences : the perceptions of young people with mental health difficulties

Singleton, Amy and Abeles, Paul and Smith, Ian Craig (2016) Online social networking and psychological experiences : the perceptions of young people with mental health difficulties. Computers in Human Behavior, 61. 394–403. ISSN 0747-5632

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Objectives This study explores the interaction between online social networking experiences and wellbeing in 12 young people accessing mental health services. Methods Data from semi-structured interviews was analysed using Grounded Theory methodology. Results “Threats and judgement” and “connection and support” were experienced by adolescents, facilitated by having continuous access to a vast social network. These experiences influenced adolescents' psychological wellbeing, mediated by their responses to threat and judgement and maintaining “safe sharing” with their network. Social network use was conceived as a gamble of balancing its potentially positive and negative impact in a culture in which social network use appears to be unavoidable. Conclusions The findings indicate the importance of routine assessment and formulation of social networking use in understanding adolescents' psychological distress. Furthermore, a range of opportunities exist for clinicians to utilise the anonymity and peer support that social networks offer to broaden the range of mental health services offered to young people.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Computers in Human Behavior
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Computers in Human Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.011
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? social mediaonline social networksmental healthadolescentsqualitativegrounded theorypsychology(all)human-computer interaction ??
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Deposited On:
29 Mar 2016 12:32
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:23