The association between social media experiences and sleep quality in young adults : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

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Massey University
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With the advent of portable screen-based devices and an advancement in the functionality of social media, individuals are spending an increasing amount of time on social media over time. Alongside this increase in social media usage over time, daily sleep duration may be on a declining trend (Chou et al., 2009; Matricciani et al., 2017). A growing body of research now exists examining the relationship between sleep duration, quality, and social media use. Portable devices with screens that emit blue light could be one of the reasons contributing to this decline (Gringras et al., 2015; Mireku et al., 2019), and emerging research suggests that experiences on social media may also be affecting people’s sleep (Rzewnicki et al., 2020; Tandon et al., 2020; Woods & Scott, 2016). While a growing body of research examines the use of social media and the subsequent associations with sleep, to date, only a small amount of this research specifically looks at the relationship between negative social media experiences and sleep quality. Here, a cross-sectional sample (n = 181) recruited via Prolific was asked to fill out a questionnaire about their social media use and sleep quality. A small positive correlation between negative experiences on social media (as measured by the modified PANAS-NA) and sleep quality (as measured by the sleep quality subscale of the GSDS) was found, suggesting that individuals who experience greater negative experiences on social media may also experience slightly poorer sleep quality compared to those who experience fewer negative social media experiences. The implications for social media use, measurement of negative social media experiences, and further research are discussed. Further research utilizing longitudinal and experimental methods to determine the mechanisms of this relationship is necessary.