Objectives: Emerging adult minority males have inequitable negative consequences from substance abuse. They are also frequent users of social media, logging into popular sites up to 25 times per week on average, so there may be opportunities to use these technologies for better understanding and preventing substance use behaviors. Through mobile phone monitoring, this study examined how social media sites are used to post substance use-related images and how posting such images is related to behaviors and attitudes. It also explored how self-presentation of masculinity norms, such as coolness and toughness, was related to posting of substance use-related photos. Methods: Instagram and/or Twitter posts of 65 minority males aged 18–25 living in low-income areas were monitored for three months using phone tracking software. Over 2200 posted images were content analyzed to determine if they were related to alcohol or marijuana and if they displayed masculinity norms. Behavioral interviewing was also used to examine alcohol and marijuana attitudes, use, and problematic use. Analyses utilized t-tests and multiple and logistic regression. Results: Many participants posted at least one substance use-related photo and a strong majority were exposed to such images through their network. Individuals who posted substance use-related images had more “followers.” Posting substance-use related photos was related to marijuana use attitudes, behaviors, and problem behaviors, as well as depictions of toughness in photos. Conclusions: Social media monitoring has potential for use in identifying individuals at-risk for substance abuse and those who may be perpetuating unhealthy substance use norms.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Adolescence|
|State||Published - Dec 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant R21DA031146 (PI=Kershaw), and from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS ( 5P30MH062294 ).
© 2019 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents
- Emerging adults
- Social networking
- mobile phones
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health