Date of Conferral







Thomas Edman


Adolescents are adopting computer-mediated communication (CMC) at a higher rate than any other age group, with CMC becoming integral to their social relationships. This is particularly significant given the role peer relationships play in adolescent mental health. The purpose of this quantitative, quasi-experimental study was to explore the relationship between adolescent CMC and social anxiety. The research was guided by Erikson's theory of psychosocial development and Kock's media naturalness theory. This multiwave panel study included a convenience sample of 58 adolescents ages 11 to 18. Surveys were completed on participant's social skills and introversion, and daily data were gathered on CMC, face-to-face communication, and social anxiety. Three regression models were produced from each day's data. Results indicated a modest relationship between daily CMC and social anxiety. Results also indicated CMC users with lower social skills or higher in introversion may be at greater risk for social anxiety. Lower face-to-face communication was also found to be related to increased social anxiety in CMC users. Findings may be useful to researchers seeking to identify specific populations who are at greater risk for negative outcomes in CMC use. Findings may also be useful to clinicians, educators, and parents interested in CMC's role in adolescent mental health or its impact on the quality of adolescent peer relationships.