University of Twente Student Theses


Scrolling for a Diagnosis: The Effects of Self-Diagnosing Content on Social Media on Young Adults’ Mental Health

Dewak, Hadil (2023) Scrolling for a Diagnosis: The Effects of Self-Diagnosing Content on Social Media on Young Adults’ Mental Health.

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Abstract:Self-diagnosis content on social media is a phenomenon that has been progressively emerging in recent years. Previous research identified benefits, like social support, and shortcomings of self-diagnosing but failed to specifically indicate its impact on the mental health of young adults. This study focused on exploring the effects of self-diagnosis content on Instagram and TikTok on the mental health of young adults. A qualitatively explorative approach was used in which semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 young adults aged between 19- and 26 years old. The data were subsequently analysed using an interpretive content analysis. The participants’ opinions ranged from a positive outlook to a predominantly negative perspective that indicated scepticism. Concerning the cognitive and affective effects, many young adults implied adverse impacts on their mental health in the form of anxiety and self-questioning. Positive effects included feelings of validation regarding their experiences with mental health. The practical implications of these results suggest the need for mental health services and social media platforms to regulate self-diagnosis content. Furthermore, the validation of self-diagnosis content as a method of mental health support needs to be examined by mental health experts in the form of increasing community literacy on the matter. This study contributes to research on self-diagnosis methods by providing an exploration of social media’s role in its effects. Future research should focus on investigating the expressions of mental health issues by applying further qualitative study designs and making use of the preliminary social media content analysis of this study. Besides, examining particular access restrictions that influence the use of self-diagnosis content should be incorporated. Keywords: self-diagnosis content, social media, mental health, young adults, impact, qualitative explorative approach, semi-structured interviews, content analysis
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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