Presenter: Christine Nam, Poster Presentation
Research Title: Effects of Text Messaging on Stress and Mood
Faculty Advisor: Stephanie Reich
Mentor: Joanna Yau
Many adolescents use technology, but whether they use it to help cope with stress is unknown. As social support buffers against stress, it is possible that messaging a friend can reduce stress after a stressful situation. Studies have shown that there are distinctions on how women and men cope with stress. Women tend to seek out social and emotional support more than men. Thus, it is feasible that messaging for stress reduction may differ by gender. This study explores how messaging could affect stress and whether the effect is different for males or females. Using a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), participants were temporarily stressed by presenting a speech and performing a math task in front of two unresponsive judges. Participants were then randomly placed in either the messaging or no activity group. During the TSST and the condition they were placed, participants reported their stress. Using the Analysis of Variance test, preliminary results found no significance between the reduction of stress following messaging or doing nothing. However, only a small number of participants have been tested so far. There was a marginally significant difference (p=0.09) between boys and girls in reducing stress regardless of condition. Trends showed that stress for boys in the messaging group was reduced by 2.75 points while for girls it was reduced by 1 point, possibly showing that there is a greater effect of messaging on stress for boys. However, more data is needed. This study helps increase our understanding of how messaging may offer social support to buffer against stress and whether this benefit is stronger for boys.