Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Jason Brown

Abstract

Social media use is prevalent among adolescents and young adults. However, little is known about the role and function of social media in the lives of youth who have experienced social marginalization. These youth face different challenges than their mainstream peers when it comes to the development, maintenance and outcomes of their friendships and relationships. It is unknown whether findings on social media and relationships accurately represent the experiences of youth who have experienced social marginalization, given the different challenges they face in achieving belonging and intimacy. Semi-structured interviews with youth regarding their social media use and its impact on their relationships took place at local youth-serving community agencies in a central Canadian city. A content analysis of 11 interview transcripts was performed and 6 themes emerged. Themes included: Prevalence & Preferences; Typical Activities; Negative Influences; Awareness of Risks; Positive Insights and Suggestions; and Break-Ups. Conclusions provide an understanding about how youth experiencing marginalization are using social media, and how programming can be developed to suit their specific mental health needs and concerns.


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