Distress Among Adolescents: An Exploration of Mattering, Social Media Addiction, and School Connectedness

Joshua C. Watson, Elizabeth A. Prosek, Amanda L. Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study aimed to explore the effects of mattering, social media addiction, online activity, school connectedness, age, and gender on anxiety/depressive symptomatology among U.S. adolescents. A nationally representative Qualtrics panel sample consisting of 441 adolescents (Mage = 17.3; SDage = 1.67) participated in this study. The results of a three-step hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that gender, social media usage, and mattering were most strongly associated with adolescent distress (i.e., anxiety/depressive symptom reporting). For the full predictive model with all six predictors added, mattering was found to significantly improve the prediction of adolescents’ anxiety/depressive symptomatology, contributing an additional 12.8% of explained variance. For this sample, adolescent girls participants reported experiencing more anxiety/depressive symptoms. Furthermore, higher levels of social media usage, indicative of an addictive stage, and lower levels of mattering were related to more significant anxiety/depressive symptomatology. Overall, mattering was found to significantly correlate with adolescent distress, online activity, problematic social media usage, and school connectedness, evidencing its importance in addressing adolescent mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Psychoeducational Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Psychology


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