The Relationship between Exposure to Risk-Related Content on Social Media and Adult Online and Offline Risk-Taking

Prof Doc Thesis


O'Mahony, C. 2019. The Relationship between Exposure to Risk-Related Content on Social Media and Adult Online and Offline Risk-Taking. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsO'Mahony, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Background: There have been recent governmental efforts to introduce regulation to ameliorate the harm caused by the influence of social media on risky behaviour. However, little empirical research exists supporting this association.
Aims: This study first aimed to investigate if there was a relationship between exposure to social media content encouraging risk behaviours and participants’ own engagement in these behaviours in a sample of 18-24-year olds. Four offline and two online behaviours were investigated in a replication and extension of a previous study (Branley & Covey, 2017). The second aim was to investigate the relationship between exposure to risk-related social media content and participants’ behaviour in a sample of adults aged 18-84.
Method: This study employed a cross-sectional quantitative design, with data collected at a single time point through an online questionnaire. A sample of 684 participants completed the measures on own risk behaviour, perceptions of the risk behaviour of peers, exposure to risk-promoting social media content, risk propensity, age and gender. A two-step binary logistic regression was conducted for each of the six behaviours across three research questions to test the associations between the variables of interest, and to examine the contributions of individual variables to each model.
Results: A strong positive relationship was found between exposure to risk-related social media content and risk-taking behaviour across a diverse range of offline and online behaviours and for all age groups. The strength of the relationship varied across individual behaviours and according to gender and age groups.
Conclusion: The relationship between risk-related social media content and risk-taking behaviour is complex, behaviour-specific, and dependent on a number of demographic factors. In order to be effective, policy and mental health interventions to reduce risk of harm will need to consider the many factors that influence the relationship between risk-promoting social media content and risk behaviour.

Year2019
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/uel.883wy
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PrintMay 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2020
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