University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Social media stress and mental health: A brief report on the protective role of emotional intelligence

Davis, Sarah K. ORCID: and Sundvik, Linda M. S. (2022) Social media stress and mental health: A brief report on the protective role of emotional intelligence. Current Psychology. ISSN Print: 1046-1310 Online: 1936-4733

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10.1007/s12144-022-03035-9 - Published Version
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Evidence on whether social media use is associated with poor mental health and stress remains mixed and controversial. It is suggested that this effect may vary according to individual differences. Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered a protective resource that can buffer the effects of stressors in certain contexts. We examine whether this protective effect extends to the experience of social media stress. 201 young adults (mean age 26.12; 83.6% female) completed measures of EI (trait; ability), social media stress (SMS), anxiety, depression and wellbeing. SMS related to poorer mental health (symptoms and wellbeing) whilst higher EI was linked to reduced levels of SMS and better mental health. Data show the relationship between SMS and depression is moderated by trait (not ability) EI, such that those with lower levels of trait EI, who experience high levels of SMS, report higher levels of depression symptoms compared to those with higher TEI. Implications and directions for research are explored.

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Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Emotional intelligence, social media stress, mental health, depression, anxiety, wellbeing
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Sarah Davis
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 15:49
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 15:49

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