Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Journalism BA


Communication Studies

First Advisor

David Davies, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Communication Studies


Beginning in the late 2000s, social media began its ascent into mainstream media. Today, it has become a part of our daily routines. Due to its prevalence and nature, social media has been directly linked to deteriorating mental health in teens and young adults for some time. Many of the studies previously conducted studied Millennials. However, today’s generation of young people, Gen-Z, has a very different relationship with social media and the internet. In 2020, when the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and most work and school went virtual, social media became that much more prevalent in our lives. This study examines the effects social media has had on the mental health of Gen-Z college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that students have become much more reliant on social media than before the pandemic and showed increased levels of fear and stress as it pertains to their social media consumption. Respondents demonstrated a change in preferred platforms as well.

Included in

Social Media Commons