Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Personal social and communication technology has been widely adopted by the world in the 21st century. With this widespread worldwide adoption, significant controversy exists debating the effects these social technologies have. Specifically, there is a strong debate in the scientific literature over the psychological effects of social technologies, smartphones, and social media usage. Some arguments are made that modern technology can help improve psychological well-being, whilst others claim it has destroyed a generation of adolescents and merging adults. The present thesis aims to address this debate by exploring the current research from a variety of methodologies about social technology usage effects on psychological well-being, including severe discrepancies in survey-based correlational studies, meta-analyses, longitudinal designs, and random assignment experiments. There is also a systematic problem regarding literature in this area, particularly in the validity of self-report measurement instruments in comparison to actuarial assessments of technology use, including screen time. Specifically, there is evidence discussed for systematic overreporting of technology use, in turn leading to false positive, statistically significant results that do not replicate when using actual screen time assessments. This thesis will address these problems in the research literature by using actuarial assessments of screen time in order to see if positive and negative affective variation can be accounted for by utilizing a daily diary methodology.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Social technology, well-being, affect, smartphone

Thesis Advisor

Sean C. Rife

Committee Chair

Sean C. Rife

Committee Member

Laura Liljequist

Committee Member

Esther Malm

Committee Member

Diane Nititham

Document Type


Available for download on Monday, January 24, 2022