Social epidemiology of early adolescent problematic screen use in the United States 


Nagata, J. M., Singh, G., Sajjad, O. M., Ganson, K. T., Testa, A., Jackson, D. B., … & Baker, F. C. (2022). Social epidemiology of early adolescent problematic screen use in the United States. Pediatric research, 1-7.



To determine sociodemographic correlates of problematic screen use (social media, video games, mobile phones) among a racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population-based sample of 10–14-year-old early adolescents. 

Study design 

We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (Year 2, 2018–2020; N = 8753). Multiple linear regression analyses were used to estimate associations between sociodemographic factors (age, sex, race/ethnicity, primary language, household income, parental education) and adolescent-reported problematic video game (Video Game Addiction Questionnaire), social media (Social Media Addiction Questionnaire), and mobile phone use (Mobile Phone Involvement Questionnaire). 


Boys reported higher problematic video game use while girls reported higher problematic social media and mobile phone use. Native American, black, and Latinx adolescents reported higher scores across all problematic screen measures compared to non-Latinx white adolescents. Having unmarried/unpartnered parents was associated with higher problematic social media use. Although higher household income was generally protective against problematic video game use, these associations were weaker for black than white adolescents (p for interaction <0.05). 


Given the sociodemographic differences in problematic screen use, digital literacy education strategies can focus on at-risk populations, encourage targeted counseling by pediatricians, and adapt family media use plans for diverse backgrounds. 

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