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Week 8: Signature Assignment – Evidence-Based Project Proposal

Title: Impact of Social Media Use on Adolescents and Youth Mental Health.


Social media use is prevalent among teenagers and adolescents because it forms part of their social and creative lives. The UK, US, and Europe all have similar percentages, with close to 99% of teenagers using social media and the Internet for at least twenty-one hours per week (O’Reilly, 2020). Despite various benefits of social media use like relieving stress, having fun, creating and maintaining friendships, and exploring various identities, the possibility of a negative impact on adolescents and youth mental health concerns most stakeholders. Mental health is essential to ensure children grow to be productive members of society that handle stress, relate to others, and make healthier choices in life. The risk of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, eating anxiety, and suicide have all been linked to increased use of social media. These factors prompt further studies in this paper to understand the perspectives of the impact of social media on adolescent mental health.


The mental health crisis is hitting closer and closer to home. The media shows more young people committing suicide or speaking out on mental health issues. The influence of social media on the younger generation is evident because of the diverse emotions it elicits. Sometimes, social media is helpful because it allows the youth to relax and take their minds off many things. Other times, it is dangerous because it promotes comparison, feeds on insecurities, and negatively impacts mental health. In practice, a plethora of children state they have self-harmed and suicidal thoughts. In addition, education surrounding social media to patients and their families is not something healthcare providers typically touch on. This paper thus seeks to find more insight into the effects of social media, whether negative or positive, to better support, educate, and care for the adolescents and young adults in the community.

Purpose statement: To seek the detrimental and constructive mental health effects of the use of social media among adolescents and youths.

The use of social media has increased exponentially among youth and adolescents over the past decade. Of concern is the impact it has on their mental health. This paper seeks to give insight into the effects of social media on youth and adolescent mental health using individual experiences and healthcare workers’ accounts.

Background and Significance

Technology has evolved and paved the way to weave social media into our lives. Social media continue to be an essential part of our lives, which begs the question of their impact on mental health, especially on youth and adolescents, whether long-term or short-term. Research on social media and adolescent mental health has explored mainly the adverse effects (Findley et al., 2022). They find that it elicits many feelings like low self-esteem, low mood, anxiety, depression, and poor sleep. Some researchers also explored the constructive effect of social media on youth mental health and found that it was a way of keeping informed of what was going on in society, a form of correspondence, a place to share information, and a way of relaxation. These findings are amid the possibility of cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, and self-harm.

The impact on mental health is a desired topic because the human mind has an overwhelming desire to comply with common trends and cultural norms. Additionally, adolescence is a significant period of physiological and biological changes (Nesi, 2020). It is also a period of increased risk of mental health because it is when individuals develop self-esteem, self-satisfaction, and life satisfaction. At the same time, it is a time when children can adequately express psychological concepts that relate to outward pressures. When comparing individuals that spent less time on social media with those that continuously used it, researchers found that those who consumed less time on social media had more positive attributes and prospects about life than those that continuously used it. Thus, social media can influence young children’s development because they spend more and more time on it.

Healthcare providers also face an increasing number of adolescent and young adult patients showing an expanding rate of suicidal or self-harm thoughts. Education surrounding social media to patients and their families is not something healthcare providers typically touch on. Nevertheless, the healthcare workers usually experience first-hand the effects based on patient remarks (O’Reilly, 2020). At the same time, the incidence of specific healthcare concerns regarding mental health has increased with the increase in social media use among adolescents, which begs the question of the possibility of a link between adolescents’ health and social media use. Additionally, healthcare workers’ views regarding their impact on patients would benefit from having social media as a risk assessment item.

This study would contribute to existing knowledge regarding the impact of social media on youth and adolescent mental health. It would also add the perspectives of healthcare workers that use social media as an assessment tool to determine the impact of social media. There is an increasing prevalence of mental health issues among adolescents and youth. The problem is multifactorial, but social media plays a role in mental health concerns. Let us face it, social media is not going anywhere and will only become prevalent in society. One can work with it to emphasize the positive results and find strategies to mitigate the negative impact.





PICOT question

In adolescents and youth between 11 and 21, does limiting or not using social media compared to continuous use of social media have a negative or constructive impact on their mental health for approximately six months?

Keywords: Adolescents; teens; youth; social media; mental health; Internet.

This section will focus on critical appraisal of the evidence and provide the relevance to this study. It will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and address what is currently known and what the work seeks to do.

Continuous use of social media is connected to mental health. Kelly et al. sought to understand how social media use contributed to mental stability issues. They investigated if adolescent and youth social media use was associated with depressive symptoms and how exactly it is that it resulted in mental health issues. They found that social media use was associated with depressive symptoms through harassment, sleep deprivation, shaming body image, and self-esteem issues (Kelly et al., 2018). More so, more girls than boys were associated with depressive symptoms after social media use. The more a participant stayed online, the more they expressed unhappy depositions. Thus, the researchers explored a new avenue of research to understand how social media use in adolescents and youth contributed to mental health issues. They also illustrated that there was a robust stepwise increase in mental health issues with increased time spent on social media. This soured is relevant because it provides how social media is linked to adolescent mental wellbeing.

The consumption of social media is also linked to several outcomes of mental health. O’Reilly (2020) researched social media’s effects on adolescent mental health using perceptions of healthcare workers and adolescents’ accounts. The findings were that social media has good, bad, and ugly sides to adolescent mental health (O’Reilly, 2020). The research explored a new avenue of study that highlight the perspectives of healthcare practitioners and adolescents about social media use and adolescent mental wellness. The study is thus helpful because it highlights the need to consider the role of social media in practice. After all, a risk assessment needs not only to focus on the negative impact of social media but also on the positive impact.

Digital technologies have become central to the lives of adolescents and youth because of the unprecedented amount of digital content. In addition, most started using smartphones from as early as twelve years. The evolving technology incorporates social media, which has a substantial positive and negative impact on youth mental health. Nesi (2020) suggests that social media results in depression, poor body image, dissatisfaction with current lifestyle, and disordered sleeping. She also suggests that individual strengths and vulnerabilities may make some develop maladaptive techniques, which explains the difference in response to social media. In addition, she finds that youth exposed to risky behaviors like alcohol intake are more likely to practice those behaviors. Potential benefits included connecting with friends, sharing and creating new opportunities, and a platform for creative expression. This research thus contributes to existing knowledge that supports the impact of social media on youth mental health. It also proposes that future studies address how and for what group social media use affects mental health.

Social media use is associated with many dangers like sleep deprivation, depression, isolation, and self-dissatisfaction. Health Matters (2022) states that social media use is connected to increased mental wellness issues. Most common were isolation, depression, self-esteem issues, and dealing with conflicts. Additionally, a youth with a culture of comparison compounds the insecurities because they cannot decline toxic impulsive behaviors. Future research calls to determine the strategies to create healthy relationships with social media to maximize the benefits and limit the negatives.

Social media use is connected to a negative impact on mental health. Findley et al. (2022) conducted a study to ascertain the influence of social media use on adolescent health and found several concerns. They also realized that no conceptual models conceptualized risks and resilient factors. This work is relevant because it provides a broader scope of the influence of social media on youth health. The researchers recommend future studies to address a longitudinal study where researchers monitor a study group to determine the impacts of social media on their mental health.

These studies all seek to address either new avenues of study or contribute knowledge that leads to developing evidence-based measures. O’Reilly sought to highlight the good, bad, and ugly side of social media, Kelly et al. sought to understand how social media use contributed to mental health issues, and Nesi contributed to existing literature regarding the effects of using social media. All these researchers prove that social media use in teens and youth is associated with mental health issues.

EBP Standard

Evidence-based interventions are methods resulting from integrating research, experience, patient preference, and personalized patient care. They can also develop from expert opinions, clinical trials,  and practice methods. Delivering personalized care involves healthcare workers adopting clinical practice guidelines, their perspective of care as professionals, and the patient’s preferences and characteristics to achieve the best possible outcome.

Clinicians can consider individual patient preferences by eliciting patient values at specific decision points (IHI, 2022). Patients should be informed on specific decisions, especially those sensitive to diagnostic and therapeutic options. For example,  where there is conflicting evidence, or the desired intervention involves certain risks or adverse side effects, or the suggested intervention affects a patient’s quality of life rather than the length of life, if there should be financial considerations, especially for additional costs from patient’s pocket, or if a patient’s opinion rates the procedure very highly yet the healthcare providers rate is as low, a healthcare provider ought to be very careful with involving a patient in making the decision. These patient preferences can alter the outcome of any medical outcome, and thus healthcare workers should consider them when dealing with patients. However, no specific study protocol dictates what needs to be done or is considered a priority preference when a patient needs medical attention.

The patient also participates in decision-making when healthcare providers first observe ethical considerations. Informing patients is the outcomes of specific medical choices enables them to consent when they have all the necessary information. Also, involving patients or their representatives in making guidelines helps to manage expectations. Patient participation in guideline development using collective norms and values provides support for collective decision-making in healthcare settings and organizations. These collective approaches provide guidelines for physicians and any healthcare workers with a framework to implement decision-making processes.

A healthcare worker treating an adolescent or youth with mental illness can work in collaboration with the patients and their families to come up with appropriate interventions specific to their developmental stage and age (Abi-Jaoude et al., 2020). The healthcare workers may also discuss the known risks of social media use on mental health with the patient’s parents or suggest harm reduction techniques that proposes a reduction of time spent online or on social network platforms given the risks associated. Practical evidence suggests that having an open discussion with adolescents in a nonjudgmental way opens up trust and emotional safety and fosters inclusion and autonomy as opposed to blatant commands.

Healthcare workers can also encourage parents to limit their children’s social media use to less than two hours, given that studies reveal that using social media for more than two hours a day is associated with poor mental health (Abi-Jaoude et al., 2020). Open discussions focused on positive engagement in the use of social media elicit a sense of inclusion from the youth, which results in an understanding between the youth and their parents. In addition, parents can also check their social media use because most children model behavior from their surroundings. Also, parents can check smartphone use because too much occupation on electronic devices is associated with poor interaction with their families. Positive parental influence and supportive school communities provide youth and adolescents with an avenue to elicit high confidence, media literacy, and appreciation of diversity. These qualities are essential for proper development in the Internet era.

Healthcare workers can also launch public awareness campaigns and policies targeting social initiatives to help adolescents to navigate the very challenging period of their lives. It would also help the youth to manage their emotions and reduce mental health crises (Abi-Jaoude et al., 2020). In addition, clinicians can also collaborate with various bodies to provide health and safety tips on social media use to youth, adolescents, and their parents.


This project will be valuable to nursing research, education, and practice. In nursing research, the study would also answer the question of whether there is a possible link between social media use and increased mental health concerns. It would also help researchers define the impact of social media use on mental health, whether positive or negative. The study would also help to define how social media is linked to mental health, why it is linked to mental health, and also indicate the group of people for which social media would be beneficial or harmful.

In nursing education, the data would contribute to existing knowledge that finds and defines the impact of social media. It would also help researchers determine the best way to make evidence-based practice proposals. In nursing practice, the results would help inform healthcare workers when they assess patients with mental health issues. It would help them include it in a risk assessment to strategize the best possible solution to their problem. It would also help healthcare workers appreciate the positive impact social media has on the mental health of youth and adolescents.



Abi-Jaoude, E., Naylor, K. T., & Pignatiello, A. (2020). Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192(6), E136-E141. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.190434

Findley, A. M., De Rutte, J. L., & Dennis-Tiwary, T. A. (2022). The impact of social media use on youth and adolescent health. The Impact of Social Media Use on Youth and Adolescent Health. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367198459-reprw60-1

Health Matters. (2022, March 14). Is social media threatening teens’ mental health and wellbeing? NewYork-Presbyterian. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/is-social-media-threatening-teens-mental-health-and-well-being/

IHI. (2022). Evidence-based care bundles | IHI – Institute for healthcare improvement. Improving Health and Health Care Worldwide | IHI – Institute for Healthcare Improvement. https://www.ihi.org/Topics/Bundles/Pages/default.aspx

Kelly, Y., Zilanawala, A., Booker, C., & Sacker, A. (2018). Social media use and adolescent mental health: Findings from the UK millennium cohort study. EClinicalMedicine6, 59-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2018.12.005

Nesi, J. (2020). The impact of social media on youth mental health. North Carolina Medical Journal81(2), 116-121. https://doi.org/10.18043/ncm.81.2.116

O’Reilly, M. (2020). Social media and adolescent mental health: The good, the bad and the ugly. Journal of Mental Health29(2), 200-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2020.1714007




        Assignment Prompt

The purpose of the signature assignment is for students to apply the research and EBP concepts they have learned in this course and develop a framework for the initial steps of the student’s capstone project. The assignment allows the student to initiate the steps for planning, researching and developing an evidence-based practice intervention project proposal. 

On or before Day 7, of week eight each student will submit his or her final proposal paper to the week eight assignment link in D2L. This formal paper will include and expand upon work completed thus far in prior assignments.

Essential Components of the Final Project Proposal will include:   

Introduction– Provide an introduction to your topic or project. The introduction gives the reader an accurate, concrete understanding what the project will cover and what can be gained from implementation of this project.
Overview of the Problem – Discuss the problem,  why the problem is worth exploring and the potential contribution of the proposed project to the discipline of nursing.
Project Purpose Statement – Provide a declarative sentence or two which summarizes the specific topic and goals of the project.
Background and Significance – State the importance of the problem and emphasize what is innovative about your proposed project. Discuss the potential impact of your project on your anticipated results to the betterment of health and/or health outcomes.
PICOt formatted Clinical Project Question(s)– Provide the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Expected Outcomes and Timeframe for the proposed project.
Literature Review – Provide the key terms used to guide a search for evidence and discuss at least five (5) summaries of relevant, credible, recent, evidence-based research studies to support the project proposal.
Critical Appraisal of Literature – Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, what is known from the evidence and what gaps in evidence were found from the appraisal of evidence-based research studies.
Develop an EBP Standard – Describe two to three interventions (or a bundle of care) from the evidence and discuss how individual patient preferences or the preferences of others will be considered.
Implications – Summarize the potential contributions of the proposed project for nursing research, education and practice.



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