The Impact of Social Media on the Mental Health of Student-Athletes across NCAA Divisions

Jessica K. Brougham – University of Florida

The purpose of this research was to explore impacts of social media on the mental health of student-athletes. Ninety-four student-athletes across all three NCAA Divisions completed a survey on their social media use and various mental health measures. Results showed that while social media use as a whole did not impact depression, anxiety, satisfaction with life, perceived stress, or self-esteem, use of Facebook and self-esteem had a negative correlation while use of TikTok and self-esteem had a positive one. Additionally, for male participants, use of Instagram
and Snapchat had a negative correlation with anxiety and depression. Qualitative responses indicated social media is often a tool used for procrastination and escape, and many student-athletes felt it had a negative impact on them. Student-athletes should be instructed on healthy coping strategies.