Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education, Health & Behavior Studies

First Advisor

Joshua Cohen


This study examined the effects of social media usage on the self-authorship of college students. Social media as a means for social interaction has become a constant in the life of young adults. At a time when students have traditionally established their own beliefs and identity and begin to move towards self-authorship, these social mediums have become a venue for students to look to others for a definition of who they are or who they want to be. Current literature on college students’ use of social media has focused on the relationship between social media usage and online social behavior, including self-disclosure, social capital, and self-presentation. Research has not considered how the saturation of social media influences students’ ability to define their own sense of self on the journey to self-authorship.

The study was conducted with first-year and fourth-year college student participants. It examined students’ ability to establish their own beliefs and identity, as measured by the Self-Authorship Scale, and measured students’ social media usage using the Social Media Use Integration Scale. The study explored the relationship between students’ self-authorship and social media usage and examined the extent to which students’ social media usage predicts self-authorship. This study hypothesized that increased social media usage would result in decreased self-authorship development.

The study found a negative relationship between social media use and self-authorship. It also found that increased social media use predicted diminished levels of self-authorship abilities, while preferred social media platform did not. These findings can assist higher education in better understanding the influence of social media use on self-authorship and can inform future practices involving social media.