The Protective Role of Social-Oriented Digital Media Use in Children’s and Adolescents’ Life Satisfaction During the Covid-19 Pandemic

A Latent Growth Curve Model

Authors

  • Laura Marciano Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, United States of America; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, United States of America
  • Emiliano Albanese Institute of Public Health, USI Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland
  • Kasisomayajula Viswanath Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, United States of America; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, United States of America https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4795-5803
  • Anne-Linda Camerini Institute of Public Health, USI Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2316-6228

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47368/ejhc.2023.101

Keywords:

digital media use, life satisfaction, child, adolescent, longitudinal, latent growth curve model, Covid-19, pandemic

Abstract

Covid-19 measures have reduced children’s and adolescents’ life satisfaction (LS), a key indicator of well-being. However, we have limited evidence of the longitudinal associations between changes in LS and different types of digital media use throughout the pandemic. Using data collected in Ticino, Italian-speaking Switzerland from 764 children and adolescents (Mage = 12.51, SDage = 4.00, 52% females) over five months starting from September 2020, the current study investigated temporal variations in LS, and how process-oriented versus social-oriented digital media use predicted LS, controlling for socio-demographic variables. Results of the quadratic latent growth curve model showed a steeper decrease in LS at the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic in Autumn 2020. Process-oriented digital media use predicted lower starting levels (i.e., the intercept) of LS, whereas social-oriented digital media use acted as a protective factor against the initial decrement of LS (i.e., linear slope) and positively influenced the rate of change of LS (i.e., the quadratic slope), pointing towards a faster return to baseline levels. Females, adolescents, participants with low subjective socio-economic status, and non-Swiss participants reported lower levels of LS. Results suggest that when in-person social contacts are compromised, social-oriented use of digital technologies should be promoted in young people to obtain and maintain social contacts that are crucial for LS and their well-being. LS may be conceived as a predisposing condition to accumulate, preserve, and restore mental and social well-being, which, in turn, allow individuals to contribute to their community and society at large.

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Published

19.01.2023

How to Cite

Marciano, L., Albanese, E., Viswanath, K., & Camerini, A.-L. (2023). The Protective Role of Social-Oriented Digital Media Use in Children’s and Adolescents’ Life Satisfaction During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Latent Growth Curve Model. European Journal of Health Communication, 4(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.47368/ejhc.2023.101

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Section

Original Research Paper