Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2020

Document Type



Woosley, Vanessa Rose. 2020. Media Use and Depression in College Students. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Vanessa Rose Woosley 2020.


College offers new experiences but with that new obstacles as well. Research also shows that there has been a growing need for mental health services on college campuses. 96.5% of American households have a television and 98% of college students are on the internet which is higher than non-students. In this paper, I looked at whether or not there was a direct relationship between media consumption (old and new) and depressive symptoms (distress and general health). In addition, I examined possible mediating variables of self-esteem, life satisfaction and stress. Correlation testing and ordinary least-squares regression with multiple models were used. Internet hours were significantly related to distress; old media was not significant. Old media use effects college students through the mediating variables of self-esteem, life satisfaction and stress. Internet hours were not significant in relation to health. The more Internet hours one consumed, the higher the stress, the lower the self-esteem and the lower the life satisfaction people experienced. Old media, in contrast, was not significantly related to any of these factors. Future research should focus on the effects of the Internet and media multitasking on depressive symptoms.