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Digital Social Multi-Tasking

Young people today use their phones almost nonstop, even when they are having face-to-face interactions with others. Many adults assume this behavior is annoying and will compromise the quality of the interaction, but adolescents and emerging adults may subscribe to a different norm and thus this behavior may not be as detrimental as what many adults have assumed. Find out how digital social multi-tasking relates to youth's friendship quality and psychosocial well-being in the publications listed below.


  • Publications
    • Yang, C.-c., Pham, T., Ariati, J., Smith, C., & Foster, M. (2021). Digital social multitasking (DSMT), friendship quality, and basic psychological needs satisfaction among adolescents: Perceptions as mediators. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Advance online publication.
    • Yang, C.-c., & Christofferson, K. (2020). On the phone when we’re hanging out: Digital social multitasking (DSMT) and its socioemotional implications. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 1209-1224.


Multi-Dimensional Model of Social Media Use

How is the use of social media associated with youth’s psychological well-being? We’ve learned from research that the amount or frequency of use is not a strong or reliable predictor of well-being. Rather, the implications of social media use are contingent upon at least three dimensions of use: activities performed on social media, motives for social media use and communication partners connected through social media.


  • Publications

    † = equal contribution

    • Yang, C.-c., Holden, S. M, & Ariati, J. (2021). Social media and psychological well-being among youth: The Multidimensional Model of Social Media Use. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. Advance online publication. 
    • Yang, C.-c., Tsai, J.-Y., & Pan, S. (2020). Discrimination and well-being among Asians/Asian Americans during COVID-19: The role of social media. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 23(12), 865-870.
    • Yang, C.-c. (2020). Similar patterns, different implications: First-generation and continuing college students’ social media use and its association with college social adjustment. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice. Advance online publication.
    • Yang, C.-c., & Lee, Y. (2020). Interactants and activities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: Associations between social media use and social adjustment to college. Applied Developmental Science, 24(1), 62-78.
    • Liu, D., †Baumeister, R. F., †Yang, C.-c., & Hu, B. (2019). Digital communication media use and psychological well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 24(5), 259-273.
    • Yang, C.-c., & Liu, D. (2017). Motives matter: Motives for playing Pokémon Go and implications for well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, 20(1), 52-57.    


Social Media Social Comparison

Social media provide rich information for social comparison. It’s bad, right? Well, sometimes, but not necessarily. It depends on what type of comparison young people are performing. When the nature of a comparison is competitive and the goal is to judge, the comparison indeed dampens one’s well-being. However, when the nature of a comparison is informational and the goal is to learn, the comparison actually contributes to positive development. So, when youth browse social media, we can advise them to direct their attention from judging who is superior to learning something new from others.  


  • Publications
    • Yang, C.-c. (2021). Social media social comparison and identity processing styles: Perceived social pressure to be responsive and rumination as mediators. Applied Developmental Science. Advance online publication. 
    • Yang, C.-c., Holden, S. M., Carter, M. D. K., & Webb, J. J. (2018). Social media social comparison and identity distress at the college transition: A dual-path model. Journal of Adolescence, 69, 92-102.    
    • Yang, C.-c., Holden, S. M., & Carter, M. D. K. (2018). Social media social comparison of ability (but not opinion) predicts lower identity clarity: Identity processing style as a mediator. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47(10), 2114-2128. 
    • Yang, C.-c., & Robinson, A. (2018). Not necessarily detrimental: Two social comparison orientations and their associations with social media use and college social adjustment. Computers in Human Behavior, 84, 49-57. 
    • Yang, C.-c. (2016). Instagram use, loneliness, and social comparison orientation: Interact and browse on social media, but don’t compare. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, 19(12), 703-708. 


Online Self-Presentation

On social media, young people can spend all the time they need to craft their online images. This seemingly simple act is actually quite intentional and at times effortful among youth. Online self-presentation can be part of the process of autonomy negotiation. It also serves the functions of staying connected with family and friends, especially when regular contact is not available. Different ways of online self-presentation has different implications for identity development.


  • Publications
    • Daniels, S., Yang, C.-c., Toohey, S., & Willard, V. (2021). Perspectives on social media from adolescents and young adults with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 38(4), 225-232.
    • Yang, C.-c. (2018). Social media as more than a peer space: College freshmen encountering parents on   Facebook. Journal of Adolescent Research, 33(4), 442-469.    
    • Yang, C.-c., Holden, S. M., & Carter, M. D. K. (2017). Emerging adults’ social media self-presentation and identity development at college transition: Mindfulness as a moderator. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 52, 212-221. 
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