Corresponding Author Information: Kelci C. Davis


Social networking sites have become a pervasive part of society. In recent years, research has exposed the harmful correlates of social networking site use, including depression, suicidality, psychological distress, lowered self-esteem, anxiety, and sleep problems. In response, a new trend of taking a Social Networking Mental Health Break (SNMHB) has increased in popularity. However, no empirical research has examined the impact of SNMHBs. Therefore, this study examined the differences in personality psychopathology, self-esteem, and internalizing symptoms between social networking site users who have and who have not taken a SNMHB.


Analyses were conducted on 565 social networking site users (M age=26.05) who primarily identified as cisgender female (72.6%) and white (63.9%). Data were collected online from undergraduate students and a community sample recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants were administered the Personality Inventory for DSM-5-Short Form (PID-5-SF), The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), and The Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms - 2nd Version (IDAS-II).


MANOVA results indicated participants who had taken a SNMHB endorsed higher levels of both personality psychopathology, F (5,559)=9.63, p<.001; partial η2=.08, and internalizing symptoms, F (14,548)=4.13, p<.001; partial η2=.10, than those who had not. t-test analyses indicated participants who had previously taken a SNMHB had higher rates of self-esteem than those who had not, t(563) =-3.56, p<0.001, d=0.33.


Our findings demonstrate that individuals who have taken a SNMHB endorse higher levels of personality and internalizing psychopathology than those who have not; however, they also display higher self-esteem. It seems the hoped for amelioration of mental health symptoms through SNMHBs is not lasting; however, SNMHBs may provide a sense of pride or esteem, which would explain the protective nature of self-esteem rates in those who took a break.


Kelci C. Davis | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Jennifer K. Boland | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Larissa A. Fernandez | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Jaime L. Anderson | Sam Houston State University; Huntsville, Tx

Kelci DavisKelci C. Davis

Kelci C. Davis (she/her) is a second-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. She works under Dr. Jaime Anderson at Sam Houston State University. Her research interests broadly include multicultural aspects of personality psychopathology and assessment, particularly in the gender and sexual minority community. Clinically, she does a combination of assessment, forensic work, and client-focused interventions. As a member of multiple diversity-oriented committees and organizations, she enjoys teaching and learning from others about all things diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is fueled by advocacy, caffeine, and wanting a better life for her beagle.

Jennifer BolandJennifer Boland

Jenn Boland is a 5th-year doctoral candidate at Sam Houston State University, who works under the mentorship of Dr. Jaime Anderson. She is also the current president-elect of the SPAGS board and former SPA Twitter coordinator. Her research interests include dimensional models of personality, clinician bias in the treatment of borderline personality disorder, and associations between personality and social media behaviors.

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