PhD Oral Exam - Megan Alyson Wood, Psychology
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
A five-week longitudinal study conducted with a cross-national (Canada/Colombia) community-based sample of 173 adolescents was used for a series of three studies. For Study 1, four new measures were developed to create and evaluate measures of anxiety and depressed affect related to social media (SM) use. Specifically, social media anxiety, fear of missing out (FOMO), social media depressed affect (mood), and social media depressed affect related specifically to concerns about identity (cognition). For Study 2, these newly created measures were used to assess intersections between SM use, specifically Facebook, and anxiety and depressed affect. Study 3 used a process-oriented approach to assess how anxiety directs Facebook use and motives for using Facebook. All of the studies assessed for cross-cultural comparisons. For Study 1, confirmatory factor analyses revealed (a) strong support for our a-priori four-factor measurement model, (b) no more than moderate levels of association between the newly developed measures of anxiety and depressed affect, and (c) clear evidence of invariance across the two cultural groups. Gender differences were found for general and social anxiety with scores being more highly elevated for girls. SM-related depressed affect was also higher for girls. For Study 2, findings indicated that general anxiety, social anxiety, Facebook-specific anxiety, and FOMO deterred Canadian adolescents from having Facebook but not for Colombians. Anxiety and depressed affect were predictive of each other over time and across contexts, particularly Facebook anxiety, which was a positive predictor of all negative outcomes related to anxiety and mood. Specifically, Facebook anxiety was a predictor of anxiety (general, social, and FOMO) and depressed affect (general, Facebook-specific, and Facebook self-image problems). Interactions between anxiety and depressed affect lead to increases in anxiety and depressed affect in both places. For Study 3, Facebook anxiety and FOMO were strongly associated with motivations for using Facebook (connection, entertainment, shared identity, and lurking) cross-culturally with stronger effects for North American adolescents. Cultural differences in motives for Facebook use were consistent with collectivistic and individualistic values. These findings point to the utility of these measures for promoting research on the intersection between SM use and forms of internalizing problems.