Social media and well-being: A methodological perspective


Due to the methodological challenges inherent in studying social media use (SMU), as well as the methodological choices that have shaped research into the effects of SMU on well-being, clear conclusions regarding relationships between SMU and well-being remain elusive. We provide a review of five methodological developments poised to provide increased understanding in this domain: (a) increased use of longitudinal and experimental designs; (b) the adoption of behavioural (rather than self-report) measures of SMU; (c) focusing on more nuanced aspects of SMU; (d) embracing effect heterogeneity; and (e) the use of formal modelling and machine learning. We focus on how these advances stand to bring us closer to understanding relations between SMU and well-being, as well as the challenges associated with these developments.

Current Opinion in Psychology