Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)



First Advisor

Troy Romero


When young adults enter college their identity and self-esteem are tested in a novel environment. Interacting, forming new relationships, having some sense of independence for the first time, and often living in a new area can take a toll on someone who has not sufficiently developed a stable identity. This, in-turn, may create a negative outlook on one’s self and the individual’s capabilities to participate in social interaction, or ultimately a desire to avoid them altogether. If such a negative view further intensifies and remains present, it may develop into social anxiety disorder. Social media can either alleviate or escalate these feelings of anxiety based on how it is utilized by the individual. The individual may become compulsive with their internet use, for example, or focus more on websites where an unauthentic reality is portrayed. Each of these factors may have an effect on social anxiety within the individual. Results from this study indicated that social anxiety was positively correlated with higher levels of internet use and compulsivity of internet use. Contrary to the study’s expectations, social anxiety increased with higher levels of media consumption that is considered to be authentic, such as YouTube, Tumblr, Gaming, or Chatrooms. Exploratory research indicated that females had significantly higher levels of social anxiety than males, as well as higher levels of fear of negative evaluation, and social avoidance and distress.