Date of Conferral
Research suggests that Internet and cell phone overuse may result in lower levels of social skills and encourage isolation from peers. Less clear is whether the duration of computer-mediated communication (CMC) influences adolescent perception of their social skills competency or emotional health. This research was guided by the social cognitive theory, which suggests that social self-efficacy (SSE), the belief that they have the skills to engage successfully with others in conversation and social activities, develops from mastery experiences that regulate thought, motivation, and action. This quantitative cross-sectional survey design utilized a convenience sample of 49 adolescents ages 11-19, living in Austin County, TX, to examine the impact of CMC duration on adolescent SSE, social anxiety, and depression. Regression analyses indicated CMC duration did not significantly affect SSE, social anxiety, or depression at the p <. 05 level. Computer-mediated communication duration did influence SSE at the p = .07 level, suggesting a trend toward statistical significance. Post hoc analysis revealed a significant interaction at the p < .05 level when CMC restriction severity was tested as a moderator in the CMC duration-SSE relationship. These findings suggest that the interaction between CMC duration and restrictions may influence social self-efficacy. Additional research on the relationship between CMC and adolescent psychosocial health would be helpful, particularly using larger and more generalizable samples. This study may inform the efforts of authority figures to adolescents, specifically, on the ways in which technological changes affect adolescent social development and will help to ensure that adolescents are safe, psychologically healthy, and able to maintain healthy relationships.