ONGOING RESEARCH

Leverage technology to examine social media use, sleep, and adolescent suicide risk

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Our research harnesses emerging and innovative technology to rigorously examine social media use, sleep and circadian rhythms, and suicide risk using intensive monitoring and prospective designs. Several ongoing and recently-completed studies use smartphone technology to passively capture social media use patterns and other features (e.g., phone and app usage, communication, accelerometer) combined with ecological momentary assessment (EMA), actigraphy, questionnaires, and interviews among adolescents (community and high-risk samples).

 

Our Pathways Linking Use of Social Media to Teen Outcomes (PLUS-2) and Social Media and Sleep Health (SMASH) studies aim: 1) to better understand how and in what ways adolescents are using social media, 2) examine how social media use relates to adolescent sleep and circadian rhythms, 3) explore whether sleep disruption mediates the link between social media use and suicide risk among high-risk youth, and 4) develop new tools that are accessible and scalable for future research to capture social media and sleep using smartphones to prevent adolescent suicide. 

Understanding social media as a risk and protective factor for adolescent development and mental health

Our ongoing research aims to examine the nuances of social media by capturing teens' experiences on social media. We hope to better understand the types of negative and positive experiences that teens have on social media day-to-day and over time, and how this related to developmental processes (such as sleep and identity) and mental health outcomes. 

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Modify risk factors using scalable and accessible interventions to improve youth mental health and prevent suicide.

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Sleep is important

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A broader goal of our research is to use technology to both understand youth mental health problems and ultimately to modify risk factors to prevent them. Given systemic and societal barriers in access to mental health care, we are partnering with intervention scientists to develop an online intervention program targeting youth sleep problems. This brief and free intervention will be available to anyone who needs or wants to try it out, with the ultimate goal of improving equity in access to care and improving youth mood and mental health.