Masters Thesis

Sense of belonging in a digital, yet social world: A study on the impacts of social media use, social connectedness, and psychological well-being among college students

Our world is more connected today than it ever has been. Within the past seven years, social media use among adults in the United States has increased; however, while digital connectivity is on the rise, life satisfaction and happiness are declining (Twenge, 2019). The need to belong and social connectedness are innate to humans. Social connection goes beyond survival and reproductivity; connection is vital to the emotional well-being of individuals. The connection that is fostered varies and is impacted by several societal and individual factors. This quantitative study examines the correlation between social media use, sense of belonging and emotional well-being among college students. Using an anonymous survey, 353 randomly selected college students participated in this study. The questionnaire contained five scales focused on emotional well-being, social media use, mindfulness, need to belong, and self-compassion. MANOVA and regression analysis were used to test variables. Findings indicate there is a significant relationship between social media use, the need to belong, and emotional well-being. The study is important because it examines the impact of social media to the emotional well-being of college students. As well as the implications it has on the social work profession as it strives to strengthen the social fabric and reduce the risk of social isolation among all age groups.

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