Honors Projects


Social media is growing in popularity and with this new phenomenon could come impacts on a cognitive level. Loneliness is a robust predictor of mental and physical health issues. Loneliness is widely defined as discrepancy between actual and desired levels of social connection. Previous research has found that one impact lonely individuals face may be disruptions to sleep. Loneliness increases the likeliness of problematic social media use, both of which occur in college age and adolescent individuals at a disproportionately high rate. Problematic social media use has been previously found to be associated with less sleep. The current study seeks to investigate the causality of this relationship.

To address this gap of causality in the literature, I conducted an experimental investigation of social media use and how it interacts with loneliness to predict sleep patterns. Data was gathered on individual’s social media, sleep habits, and loneliness. Participants were then asked to either lower, heighten, or keep their social media use the same for one week. After a week, participants repeated the baseline assessment.

There were significant findings that alcohol use is associated with higher problematic social media use and fear of intimacy is associated with sleep disruption/low sleep quality. There were no significant findings on the relationship of loneliness, social media, and sleep in the current study. These findings highlight the importance of further research on the cognitive impacts of social media. One limitation of this study is the small sample size and lack of participant retention in part two. Future research with a larger sample size may allow for more meaningful results and implications.





First Advisor

Daniel Maitland

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Justin Johnston

Second Advisor Department


Third Advisor

Jari Willing

Third Advisor Department


Fourth Advisor

Christine Shaal

Fourth Advisor Department

Honors Program

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2024