Social Media Use and Conduct Problems in Emerging Adults


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Social media use has become pervasive in the lives of emerging adults. Although social media may provide individuals with positive opportunities for communication and learning, social media sites also may provide an outlet for youth conduct problems, such as bullying, harassment, and intentional hostility and aggression toward others. Yet, the relationship between social media use and conduct problems remains unclear. This study investigated the association between conduct disorder (CD) symptoms before age 15 and social media use during emerging adulthood in a large, nationally representative sample. Concurrent associations between antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) symptoms and social media use in emerging adults also were examined. Data for this study were based on 567 emerging adults (50.2 percent female; MageĀ = 20.0 years). Self-report questionnaires were completed online. Results suggested that more childhood CD symptoms were significantly associated with greater daily social media use during emerging adulthood, and that more daily social media use was significantly associated with current ASPD symptoms. Possible directional and cyclical explanations for these findings are explored. Given the pervasiveness of social media in the lives of emerging adults, these results underscore the importance of considering nuanced methods for using social media sites to encourage positive social interactions and to displace the promotion of conduct problems.

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