Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The increasing popularity of social media has led to 3.80 billion social media users worldwide (Kemp, 2020). The conception of social media has brought positive and negative effects to light. A tool originally intended to provide connection and build relationships has now also been described by many as a tool for bullying, peer pressure, mental health issues, and unrealistic views of others (Valkenburg & Peter, 2009). Research has shown a significant relationship between levels of social media usage and the likelihood for young adults to have increased reward sensitivity, risky behaviors, and anxiety levels (Vannucci et al., 2017; Vannucci et al., 2019). Although these negative elements can impact people of any age, it has the greatest effects on developing brains. These effects have a neurobiological explanation that can be attributed to the incongruent development of several neural structures and pathways associated with complex cognitive behaviors (Dahl, 2004; Steinberg, 2008). The present study aims to analyze the effects of social media on developing young adult brains, specifically in the context of anxiety, risk taking, and reward sensitivity. Findings from the study will be used to determine if there is a significant relationship between social media and the systems of anxiety, risk, and reward.


Dr. Janett Naylor-Tincknell

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type



© 2022 Victoria Medrano


For questions contact

Included in

Psychology Commons