Socio-demographic factors and COVID-19 experiences predict perceived social support and social media engagement among college students in the U.S.

Nicole K. Watkins, Royette T. Dubar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study examined socio-demographic characteristics and COVID-19 experiences as concurrent predictors of perceived familial and friend social support, social media use, and socio-emotional motives for electronic communication during the COVID-19 pandemic among college students. Participants: Participants were 619 emerging adults (18–29-year-olds) currently enrolled at, or recently graduated from, a U.S.-based college or university (Mean age = 21.8, SD = 2.2; 64% female; 60% Non-Hispanic White). Methods: Online surveys were administered between May and June 2020. A path analysis model was conducted to examine the concurrent associations between socio-demographic factors, COVID-19-related experiences, social media/electronic engagement, and perceived social support. Results: Findings indicated significant differences in perceived social support, social media use, and socio-emotional motives for electronic communication as a function of gender, race, sexual orientation, first-generation status, and relationship status. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the role of both individual and situational differences in interpersonal functioning and demonstrate how college students differently engaged with social media for socio-emotional purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of American College Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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