Social Media & Mental Health

Project Lead Category Project status
Nastasia Griffioen Social Media Completed

Social media are immensely popular, and - as it happens - a dense source of social information. In this project, we investigate what sort of information and experiences young people encounter on these social media, and how these things relate to their mental wellbeing, as well as how young people's momentary wellbeing relates to their social media behaviours.

Project team


Social Information and Social Media

We rely on social interactions for many things that are essential to our survival, such as food, safety, and even health. Some theories go as far as to propose that the human brain is uniquely attuned to (and to a certain degree dependent on) social interactions in order to deal with environmental challenges in a minimally effortful way (e.g. see Social Baseline Theory). Our propensity to seek out and exploit contact with others has most profoundly expressed itself in the form of social media and the fervour with which they are used, especially by youth. 

Since the emergence of these platforms, social media have been pinpointed as one of the potential sources of the decreases that we see in a child and adolescent mental wellbeing. However, more and more recent research on this subject indicates that the relationship between social media use and wellbeing might not be as straightforward as previously thought, and that any potential relationship is likely not about quantity of social media use, but about specific experiences in those platforms. What sort of (social) information do youth encounter on social media? And from whom does this information come? How does it make them feel, while navigating these social platforms? And does the way in which these youth sample and process these snippets of social information matter for how it will affect them over time?

These - and other - questions are at the heart of this project, in which we attempt to unravel the relationships between what sort of social information youngsters encounter on social media, and how it affects them. 

To do this, we have developed a novel and interdisciplinary paradigm, called 'stimulated recall of social media use'. Read more about it in our recently published paper.


Project team

Nastasia Griffioen title=
Nastasia Griffioen
Chief Scientific Officer

Nerd, is fascinated by the brain even more than your average zombie, into etymology and reading, drawn to anything tech-related, especially artificial intelligence. Wants to explore social tech (such as social media) and how these relate to young people's wellbeing.


Post Doctorate


E-mail Nastasia

Isabela Granic title=
Isabela Granic
Director of GEMH Lab

Professor and Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology department in the Behavioural Science Institute; writer; voracious podcast consumer; mother of two upstanding little gamers


Professor at McMaster's University & Co-founder of PlayNice Interactive


E-mail Isabela

Hanneke Scholten title=
Hanneke Scholten
Co-Director of GEMH Lab

Researcher, interdisciplinary work and collaboration, wants to understand the how's and why's, loves her high heels and coffee in the morning, walks and talks too fast.


Assistant Professor at University of Twente


E-mail Hanneke

Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff title=
Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff

I am not so interested in *whether* certain interventions work but *how* they work. That is, I am mainly focusing on underlying processes and mechanisms of change across diagnostic categories and different treatment modalities. Mother of two wild boys!


Professor of Orthopedagogics at University of Groningen


E-mail Anna


All sources
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