Congrats to Russell Miller who successfully defended his dissertation on “Screen Time and the Psychological Well-Being of U.S. Teenagers: An Exploratory Re-Analysis of Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey”
Chair: Dr. Bruce Homer, Ph.D., Professor, Educational Psychology, Graduate Center
Dr. David Rindskopf, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology, Graduate Center
Dr. Howard Everson, Ph.D., Professor (Visiting), Educational Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Dr. Michael Preston, Executive Director, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
Dr. Ellen Wartella, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication, Northwestern University
A wide range of studies, notably secondary analyses of survey data, have examined the possibility of adverse effects from teenagers’ use of digital screen-based media–with correspondingly diverse findings. One research group in particular, led by Jean M. Twenge, has been prolific and forceful in associating adolescents’ screen time with reported increases in depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide. Others have pointed to small effect sizes, construct validity issues, and other methodological problems in the Twenge research. However, one characteristic of the group’s analyses of survey data, including data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), has remained unexplored: the use of metric methods to analyze dichotomous and ordinal data. By way of example, this study deployed binomial and ordinal regression to re-analyze data from seven administrations of YRBS between 2007 and 2019, a sample comprising 103,525 high-school students. The demonstration revealed that YRBS data provide scant evidence of a relationship between non-television screen time and psychological well-being, except at an indeterminately high level of daily use.