Universität Zürich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

Media Change & Innovation Division

Andreasstrasse 15
CH-8050 Zurich
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Digital Media Use, Impact on Well-being


Nguyen, Minh Hao /

Büchi, Moritz

In: Ho, E., Bylund, C., van Weert, J., Basnyat, I., Bol, N., & Dean, M. (eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Health Communication (in press).

Digital devices (e.g., smartphones, computers) and online services (e.g., news plat- forms, social media) have become an integral part of everyday life and thus their impact on people’s well-being has come under scrutiny. This entry reviews the conceptualization and measurement of digital media use and subjective well-being, as well as the relationship between these concepts. Research focusing on specific uses and well-being indicators has shown positive as well as negative relationships, whereas studies with generalized concepts and meta-studies suggest that overall digital media use is not inherently beneficial or detrimental to subjective well-being. Rather, digital media use interacts with myriad moderators and mediators that shape the benefits that people derive from it in terms of their subjective well-being. In general, links between digital media use and subjective well-being are found to be small, inconsistent, and likely affected by measurement and analytical decisions. Thus, in theorizing and examining relationships between digital media use and well-being, the conceptualization and measurement of digital media use and well-being variables, as well as analytical approaches, need to be carefully considered.