Medical Student Quillen College of Medicine East Tennessee State University Johnson City, Tennessee, United States
Background: Both the content available and the total number of hours spent on social media (SM) have the potential to impact adolescents’ participation in high-risk behaviors (HRB). Due to the dynamic nature of SM use by adolescents, few studies have looked at these possible outcomes among an adolescent clinic population.
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between adolescent SM habits and their participation in four HRB: smoking, vaping, alcohol use, and sexual activity.
Design/Methods: Using a convenience sample of 227 adolescents (ages 12-17), a self-administered, confidential survey was fielded in two clinical centers during regular healthcare visits. SM use patterns were assessed using questions adapted from the Common Sense Media national survey. Adolescents were asked to report hours spent daily on SM. HRB were assessed using questions adapted from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. Chi-square analyses were completed and p-values reported. A series of regression analyses were completed to determine if SM use was predictive of HRB. Regressions were completed with a dichotomous SM use variable (0-3 hours/day or 4+ hours/day) and HRB variables (ever used/ever engaged or not used/never engaged), controlling for age, gender and insurance type (Medicaid vs Priavate).
Results: The mean age of the sample was 14.8 years old (s = 1.51) with 51.6% identifying as female. The mean number of hours spent on SM per day was 2.94 hours (s = 2.46) with 41.3% of respondents reporting high SM use of 4+ hours per day. 16.0%, 21.9%, 15.1%, and 20.5% of respondents reported ever smoking, ever vaping, ever drinking alcohol, and ever engaging in sexual activity respectively. Compared to adolescents with low SM use, those with high SM use were 3.82 times more likely to report ever smoking (CI: 1.61-9.11; p = 0.002), 2.36 times more likely to report ever vaping (CI: 1.17-4.78; p = 0.017), 3.15 times more likely to report ever drinking alcohol (CI: 1.32-7.56; p = 0.010), and 2.17 times more likely to report ever vaping (CI: 1.01-4.69; p = 0.048). Conclusion(s): A large proportion of adolescents reported high use (4+ hours/day) of SM which has been associated with HRB. Adolescents were more likely to smoke, vape, drink alcohol, and engage in sexual activity when they reported high use of SM each day. In order to help reduce HRB among adolescents, evidenced-based interventions to impact the amount and quality of SM use by adolescents are urgently needed.
Authors/Institutions: Austin Yoders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, United States; Sarah A. Ray, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, United States; Megan Quinn, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, United States; Maria Demma Cabral, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States; David Wood, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, United States