Prospective Physician Awareness of the Associations Between Social Media and Mental Health

Academic Article


  • Objective: Recently, studies have cited negative, positive, and an absence of impact on mental health with social media use. However, there has been little studied regarding the level of awareness and training of clinicians in screening and identifying for these associations. For this reason, the authors designed a study to assess the awareness of prospective physicians, or current medical students, on the associations between mental health and social media. Methods: The study was in the form of a 12-question survey. The questions aimed at assessing the awareness through past experiences with social media, education of its use and potential impacts, and self-reported ability to screen, identify, and counsel patients on these associations. The survey was sent to a total of 634 medical students and included all classes from MS1-MS4. A total of 148 students completed this survey (23.3% response rate). Results: The majority of medical students reported first social media use between the ages of 13 and 18, with the most common occurrence of bullying identified in this age group as well. The majority percentage of students believed there could be both positive and negative effects of social media on mental health; however, only a small percentage of students reported being aware of specific patterns of social media use that are associated with mental health. Moreover, only a few students reported feeling adequate in their ability to screen, educate, and counsel patients on these associations. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest the need for educational resources to train future physicians in screening, identifying, and counseling patients on associations between social media and mental health. The small numbers in this study are a limiting factor for the validity of result interpretation.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hill H; Hill C; Kim JW
  • Start Page

  • 78
  • End Page

  • 81
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 1