A trans-diagnostic cognitive behavioural conceptualisation of the positive and negative roles of social media use in adolescents’ mental health and wellbeing

Tibber, Marc S and Silver, Emma (2022) A trans-diagnostic cognitive behavioural conceptualisation of the positive and negative roles of social media use in adolescents’ mental health and wellbeing. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 15 . ISSN 1754-470X

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Abstract

Whilst research into the association between social media and mental health is growing, clinical interest in the field has been dominated by a lack of theoretical integration and a focus on pathological patterns of use. Here we present a trans-diagnostic cognitive behavioural conceptualisation of the positive and negative roles of social media use in adolescence, with a focus on how it interacts with common mental health difficulties. Drawing on clinical experience and an integration of relevant theory/literature, the model proposes that particular patterns of social media use be judged as helpful/unhelpful to the extent that they help/hinder the adolescent from satisfying core needs, particularly those relating to acceptance and belonging. Furthermore, it introduces several key interacting processes, including purposeful/habitual modes of engagement, approach/avoidance behaviours, as well as the potential for social media to exacerbate/ameliorate cognitive biases. The purpose of the model is to act as an aide for therapists to collaboratively formulate the role of social media in young people’s lives, with a view to informing treatment, and ultimately, supporting the development of interventions to help young people use social media in the service of their needs and values. Key learning aims (1) To gain an understanding of a trans-diagnostic conceptualisation of social media use and its interaction with common mental health difficulties in adolescence. (2) To gain an understanding of relevant research and theory underpinning the conceptualisation. (3) To gain an understanding of core processes and dimensions of social media use, and their interaction with common mental health difficulties in this age group, for the purpose of assessment and formulation. (4) To stimulate ideas about how to include adolescent service users’ online world(s) in treatment (where indicated), both with respect to potential risks to ameliorate and benefits to capitalise upon. (5) To stimulate and provide a framework for clinically relevant research in the field and the development of interventions to support young people to flourish online.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 07 February 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Formulation, Social Media, Young People
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adolescents- Psychology
Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Depression
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2605

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