Document Type


Publication Date


First Advisor

Kathleen Ryan

Second Advisor

Brian Talbot

Third Advisor

Angie Chuang


In the twenty-first century, social media has become an integral part of life in various countries across the world. However, not enough is being done, in terms of research, to look at how social media affects mental health. This is echoed in some of the literature I will discuss later (J. S.L. Brown, 2018; Pantic, 2014; Naslund et al., 2016). In this paper, I look at the relationship between social media and mental health as it relates to college age students (with a focus on the University of Colorado). The focus stems from the increase in mental illness and mental health problems among college students (“Campus Mental Health,” 2019) and my close proximity to CU. Using interviews I have gathered from expert sources and previously established research I look at more specific mental illnesses and logistical elements of the relationship. I also interviewed college students to get their opinions on how social media affects their own mental health and how they perceive it to affect those around them. With both students (from a discussion standpoint) and professionals (from a research based and investigative standpoint), there is too much focus on the negative aspects of social media and the harm it causes colleges as a whole. While it is important to acknowledge these effects, I also explore some of the benefits social media has on mental health. This paper could be published in the Journal of Communication or the Journal of New Media and Society amongst other places.


This honors thesis contains an audio component in the form of an additional file. There are instructions in the thesis that indicated when to play clips from this audio file.

DotyThesisAudio.mp3 (13191 kB)
An audio file of various interview clips that accompanies my thesis.