Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Judah, Matt

Committee Member/Reader

Makhanova, Anastasia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Marzolf, Steven

Committee Member/Third Reader

Thomas, Johanna


Research suggests that suicidal ideation can increase among people who feel that they do not belong (i.e. thwarted belongingness) and who perceive themselves to be a burden on others (i.e. perceived burdensomeness). However, it is not known whether these risk factors for suicidal ideation are moderated by smartphone use and social media use. I hypothesized that the association of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness would be stronger at higher levels of mobile phone use and social media use. Undergraduate student participants (N = 81) were incentivized via class credit to participate in a two-week longitudinal study. They completed questionnaires about mobile phone use and social media use behaviors, suicidal ideation, and interpersonal suicide risk factors. The hypothesis was tested using linear regression models. Contrary to my hypothesis, I found that thwarted belongingness depended on mobile phone use such that the association of thwarted belongingness with suicidal ideation weakened as mobile phone use increased. I found social media use had a non-significant protective effect against SI as well. These findings are inconsistent with most previous studies which suggest that mobile phone use and social media use have detrimental effects on mental health. The study was limited by the use of an undergraduate student sample. Further research is needed to understand moderators of the effects of social media and smartphone use.


Suicidal Ideation, Social Media Use, Mobile Phone Use, Interpersonal Theory of Suicide