Interested in studying adolescents/young adults and technology use?

Interested in studying adolescents/young adults and technology use?

Authors: Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH and Kole Binger, BS

Holtz Center Steering Committee member Dr. Megan Moreno’s research team is the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT). SMAHRT’s research focuses on the intersection of social media and adolescent and young adult (AYA’s) health. In today’s technologically immersed society, this area of work remains highly relevant as teens and young adults are among the most prolific technology users. Over the past 3 years, SMAHRT has conducted two large cross-sectional surveys to better understand ways that AYAs interact with technology, and associations between technology use and mental and physical health outcomes.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Dr. Moreno heard from several colleagues that their research was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Studies using AYA samples recruited from schools were halted, and ongoing meetings and research processes were slowed. For graduate students and post docs, this slow-down can impact training and future career opportunities. For junior faculty, promotion progress may be slowed due to delayed project completion. For undergraduate and graduate students, research internships may be cancelled.

News articles have supported concerns about negative impacts of COVID on researchers’ productivity, particular for female faculty. A recent article describes journal editors’ observation of trends of reduced manuscript submissions from women since the quarantine. Another recent article highlights the unique challenges of faculty with young children to be productive during quarantine as they balance childcare and work responsibilities.

With these challenges in mind, SMAHRT would like to offer to share data from their existing projects with trainees or faculty who are interested in or would benefit from access to data for their own work. In particular, SMAHRT hopes to support researchers whose work is negatively impacted by COVID. Our data sharing processes have been vetted by the IRB, and mechanisms to share de-identified data quickly and securely have been implemented. For interested researchers, our processes include sharing variable lists so that investigators can identify a potential research question, followed by submission of a brief proposal to SMAHRT to ensure there is no overlap with other ongoing data analyses. After IRB approval, data sharing can occur quickly via a secure Box folder. There is no expectation that you have to include SMAHRT in your study processes or products, but they are available to assist and answer questions.

Available data come from one of two cross-sectional studies SMAHRT has conducted. Study 1 focuses on a national sample of young adults (n=6000), and measures focus on health risks and technology risk behaviors. Measures include depression and alcohol use as health measures, and scales to screen for video game addiction and problematic internet use as technology measures. Study 2 focuses on a national sample of adolescents ages 12-17 years and their parent (n=4500 dyads). This study includes measures of technology ownership and use, parent-child interactions, as well as physical and mental health measures. Example measures include the Adolescents’ Digital Technology Importance and Interactions (ADTI) scale, family media rules questions from the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as health outcomes including sleep, physical activity and depression.

If you are interested in exploring using this data, please reach out to Dr. Moreno ( or SMAHRT (, or feel free to explore the SMAHRT website to learn more about their work.