Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

John Spitsbergen

Second Advisor

David Huffman


This study examined whether the increased average hours on social media resulted in an increased level of depression based on the Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI). Survey instruments assessed for the level of depression and the average time spent on social media via Qualtrics. Additional data included majors, age, sex, and race. Literature reviews were used to gain a better understanding of depression in the physiological, cognitive, and behavioral aspects. A previous study on The Effect of Social Networking Sites on The Relationship Between Perceived Social Support and Depression, published in 2016. by Mcdougall et al. was used to determine the appropriate effect size and target number of subjects required. There was no positive correlation between the increased average time on social media and increased levels of depression was observed in this study. Limitations of this study included 1) the small sample size that resulted in variability and non-response and 2) the potential of social desirability bias, differences of interpretation, and generalizability from the BDI instrument. Future studies should utilize the BDI in conjunction with other tests to analyze the mental state of an individual and expand the inclusion criteria to gain a better understanding of the depression levels experienced by Western Michigan University students.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted