Like This Meta-Analysis: Screen Media and Mental Health

Christopher J. Ferguson, Linda K. Kaye, Dawn Branley-Bell, Patrick Markey, James D. Ivory, Dana Klisanin, Malte Elson, Mark Smyth, Jerri Lynn Hogg, Dean McDonnell, Deborah Nichols, Shahbaz Siddiqui, Mary Gregerson, June Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The question of whether screen time, particularly time spent with social media and smartphones, influences mental health outcomes remains a topic of considerable debate among policy makers, the public, and scholars. Some scholars have argued passionately that screen media may be contributing to an increase in poor psychosocial functioning and risk of suicide, particularly among teens. Other scholars contend that the evidence is not yet sufficient to support such a dramatic conclusion. The current meta-analysis included 37 effect sizes from 33 separate studies. To consider the most recent research, all studies analyzed were published between 2015 and 2019. Across studies, evidence suggests that screen media plays little role in mental health concerns. In particular, there was no evidence that screen media contribute to suicidal ideation or other mental health outcomes. This result was also true when investigating smartphones or social media specifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Smartphones
  • Social media
  • Suicide


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