Study level

  • PhD


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Associate Professor Trish Obst
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health
Dr Stephanie Tobin
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


There is increasing concern about the negative impact of social media use on well-being. To understand its impact, we need to move beyond simple conceptualisations of social media use and utilise strong research methods to understand the role that psychological processes play in producing positive and negative impacts. There is preliminary evidence that interpersonal goals play an important role in predicting how people use and experience social media. Self-image goals involve trying to convey a desirable image of oneself to others and are associated with negative outcomes (e.g., envy). Compassionate goals involve trying to support other people’s well-being and are associated with positive outcomes (e.g., social capital). However, more evidence is needed to determine whether these goals are modifiable in a social media context and whether they have a causal impact on well-being.

Research activities

Working with a team of researchers, you will:

  • design
  • conduct
  • analyse, and,
  • report quantitative studies to advance knowledge about the impacts of social media use on well-being.


This research will advance our understanding of the role that modifiable psychological processes play in determining the impact of social media use on well-being. Such findings could benefit society by informing people how to optimally use social media to promote well-being.

Skills and experience

You should have:

  • an honours degree in psychology
  • quantitative research skills.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.