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Active Vs Passive Social Media Use : Which Increases Anxiety More?

Social media allows its users to explore and express their thoughts and feelings in a virtual environment. However, there is a darker side to social media that can trigger anxiety in young adults. This study aimed to better understand if passive or active social media usage resulted in higher anxiety levels among young adults. Understanding if active or passive social media use influences elevated levels of anxiety can help educate young adults about their social media use and how it may affect their anxiety levels. It was hypothesized that active social media usage would result in higher anxiety levels. The Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) was used to measure anxiety levels, and a questionnaire was used to measure the social media usage among Westfield State University students, ages ranging from 18 to 24. The results of this study suggest that young adults who use social media, actively or passively, tend to have similar levels and feelings of anxiety. There was a significant positive correlation between both active and passive social media use and levels of anxiety. In future studies, it is recommended to use a wider range of age among participants to increase the amount of data collected. Additionally, a more detailed questionnaire may distinguish any differences between active or passive social media use, and more accurately determine whether a person uses social media actively or passively.

Gita Adhikari '23,  Shamara Kynard '22, Madison Noyes '23