Social Media Use, Social Media Racial/Ethnic Discrimination, and Mental Health Among BIPOC Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The recent increase of racial/ethnic discrimination messaging on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movements places Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) youth at higher risks of mental health problems. There is a paucity of studies on the association between social media racial/ethnic discrimination (SMRD) and mental health. This study assessed the relationships among different aspects of social media use, SMRD, and mental health among BIPOC youth. A national sample of 407 cisgender 15-18-year-old Black, East/Southeast Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx youth who had used social media at least 5 days per week in the past month completed an online survey. In addition to demographics and COVID-19 pandemic related information, social media use measures included hours of social media use, social media intergroup contact, and social media racial justice civic engagement. Standardized measures were used to assess individual and vicarious SMRD, depression, anxiety, alcohol use disorder, and illicit drug use problems. As hypothesized, correlation analyses indicated that hours of social media use, social media racial justice civic engagement, individual and vicarious SMRD were associated with mental health. Results of structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses found that social media racial justice civic engagement was associated with increased levels of depression, anxiety, and alcohol use disorder risks among BIPOC adolescents, which could be fully explained by relationships with levels of SMRD. These findings call for the development of preventive strategies to mitigate the effect of SMRD in ways that support adolescents’ racial justice civic engagement and mental health. Such preventive strategies might include strategies for reducing racial-stress related responses and substituting healthy behaviors to counter substance use as a coping mechanism for racial stress.
Developmental psychology|Ethnic studies|Clinical psychology|Behavioral psychology
Tao, Xiangyu, "Social Media Use, Social Media Racial/Ethnic Discrimination, and Mental Health Among BIPOC Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28546575.