How Increases in Social Media Use amid the COVID-19 Isolation Period impacted the Development of Emotional Intelligence in Black Female Teens

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Corinne Brion


During and following the COVID-19 isolation period, millions of teens grappled with the sudden break in physical contact, which coincided with the natural changes occurring during adolescence. For Black female teens, the adolescent experience is unique from other teen groups as it is characterized by the sexualization and adultification of this demographic. Filling the void created by being physically isolated, the use of and the value in social media engagement increased exponentially. This has caused concerns about the mental health of teens as connections were drawn to heightened rates of anxiety and depression in this population. Social isolation restrictions halted in-person schooling for millions of teens, causing an interruption in natural progressions of social and emotional development. Emotional intelligence, encompassing five key components of emotional development: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, signifies the ability to both manage and understand the emotions of self and others. Underdeveloped emotional intelligence, I assert, lies at the root of manifestations of emotional dysregulation and consequent anxiety and depression exhibited in Black female teens. Using the Causal Chain Theory to explore this phenomenon through the lens of the Black female teen, some root causes explaining increased anxiety and consequent 4 emotional dysregulation in this demographic were discovered. Causal chains illustrate the path of influence running from root cause to problem symptoms. It is within this chain of events that this project sought to enlighten current research on the connections between the perturbations existing among Black females, social media use, deficiencies in emotional intelligence and anxiety. In this study, twenty-five Black females participated in semi-structured interviews, focus groups and observations. Approaching this project phenomenologically, the author was able to use the words of the participants to develop codes that guided recommendations made in support of an action plan. While the population site provides some resourcing to address social emotional learning (SEL), programs to align these practices with specific focus on components of emotional intelligence are lacking. This dissertation delves into the intricate relationship between social media usage and emotional intelligence among Black adolescent females, with a specific focus on heightened anxiety and depression levels during and after the COVID-19 isolation period. Through an in-depth exploration of this topic, the study seeks to uncover the ways in which social media engagement influences emotional intelligence and its subsequent impact on the psychological well-being of this demographic. The final chapter of this work details recommendations for action steps to address anticipated outcomes, responses, consequences and implications for future related practice and research are described in the conclusion.


Black female teens and emotional intelligence COVID-19 isolation period and emotional intelligence

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