The relationship between social media & the mental health and wellbeing of adults

  • Katie Foot
Keywords: social media, mental health, mental wellbeing, adults


A wide variety of studies have shown the relationship between social media use and individuals’ mental health and wellbeing, including the effects social media can have on body image. The majority of this research focuses on the adolescent and student age range, meaning the ‘adult’ age range are being excluded despite mental health affecting individuals at any age. Previous studies also often focus on a specific social media platform (e.g. Facebook), which also has limitations as individuals now tend to be active across multiple social media platforms which could have a cumulative effect on mental health. This study addressed these limitations by investigating adults’ social media use across all platforms. Specifically, the aim of this research study was to investigate the relationship between social media and mental wellbeing amongst adults in Merseyside. The target population was adult social media users (aged over 18 years). An online quantitative approach was taken using anonymous questionnaires. The researcher used a convenience sampling method, and the questionnaire was completed by 95 participants. The data collected was then analysed using Microsoft Excel, along with word clouds which identified common themes for open-ended questions. The results showed that the majority of individuals feel that social media can have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, body image and self-esteem, with only a small minority claiming it was making them happy and connected to friends and family. It also found that social media was mainly used out of boredom, and was felt to be a distraction when individuals needed to be productive. There is a need for more research on issues covering broader areas including body image and if users felt addicted to social media.