Social Media Use, Media Literacy, and Anxiety in First-Year College Students

Date of Award


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)


Department of Counselor Education and Human Services


Advisor: Elana Bernstein

Second Advisor

Advisor: Sawyer Hunley

Third Advisor

Advisor: Ronda Scantlin


Anxiety is on the rise in the world today. The American College HealthAssociation (2018) surveyed 31,463 college students and found that 60.9% of therespondents had experienced overwhelming anxiety at some point within the last 12months. Social media use has become more and more rampant, with research suggestingthat the majority of people in the United States use social media in some form. Medialiteracy, which incorporates the ability to critically assess and interpret digital content, isa topic are that is increasingly becoming of interest with the pervasiveness of technology.The present study examined the relationship between social media use, media literacy,and anxiety in first-year college students. A sample of (n = 82) first-year college studentswas surveyed to investigate these variables. Results indicated a significant relationshipbetween social media use and anxiety as well as between social media use and medialiteracy. No significant relationship was found between media literacy and anxiety.Implications for how educational professionals can serve students based on these resultsare discussed in this paper.


Education, Educational Psychology, Educational Sociology, Higher Education, Mental Health, Psychology, Psychological Tests, Quantitative Psychology, Social Psychology, Social Research, Behavioral Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Continuing Education, Counseling Psychology, Curricula, Demographics, Developmental Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Educational Evaluation, Educational Tests and Measurements, Elementary Education, social media, social media use, anxiety, media literacy, college students, undergraduate students, media literacy scale, quantitative survey, adult manifest anxiety scale, AMAS, worry, social media literacy, fear of missing out

Rights Statement

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