Objective: Our goal was to examine undergraduates’ social support
sources, including social media (SM) sources and their preferences for SM features (i.e., anonymity and similar-peer communities).
Participants: Participants were 662 undergraduates (438 women) from two midwestern colleges who completed an online survey in Spring 2017.
Methods: Students completed a demographic survey and depression/anxiety screener. They also indicated whether they turned to different people and SM resources when in distress.
Results: Those with high depression were less likely to identify parents and mental health professionals as sources of support. Those with high depression/anxiety were more likely to identify SM as a social support medium and indicate preferences for similar-peer communities; however, they also identified SM as stress-inducing.
Conclusions: SM may be a non-redundant source of social support for undergraduates. However, SM may be stress inducing. SM featuring anonymity and similar-peer communities might be appealing to students, especially those at-risk.
Reining, Lauren; Drouin, Michelle; Toscos, Tammy; and Mirro, Michael J., "College students in distress: Can social media be a source of social support?" (2018). Presentations and Events. 7.