Sarah Myruski, PhD (Assistant Research Professor in Psychology, Associate Lab Director, Emotion Development Lab, Pennsylvania State University), discusses neuroscience research that indicates emotional regulation may play a role in developing anxiety from digital media use at #AskTheExperts webinar “Anxiety: Youth Mental Health and Digital Media ” on October 4, 2023.

[Dr. Sarah Myruski] So what does the data tell us? I’m going to share with you the mentions and findings from two studies of adolescents. One was conducted at Hunter College in New York City and the other at Penn State in central Pennsylvania. Both of these were including samples of youth in early to middle adolescence, so 12 to 14 or 15. And in these studies, we used neuroscience to look at emotion regulation and patterns of digital media use preferences and anxiety symptoms. So one such neuroscience measure captures the connectivity between brain regions that are involved in emotion regulation, specifically emotion control areas in the cortex of the brain and emotion-generating areas deeper in the brain below the cortex. And we have found that a greater preference for digital media predicts elevated social anxiety, but the link was explained by heightened overcontrol of emotions that we can measure in the brain. So we think it may be this excessive neural rigidity, or overcontrol, that could explain why some teens that preferred digital media might also have troubles with anxiety.

View the full webinar

Ask the Experts—Webinar

Anxiety: Youth Mental Health and Digital Media

The first in a set of webinars investigating two of the most common mental health struggles of youth today: anxiety and depression. 

Mental Health
Social Media