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Student Research Guide WQ24/ Instagram and Mental Health

Student Research Guide for Library 201/ Andrea Mills

What is this Guide for?


Instagram and Mental Health


 This is a student created research guide for English 102 & Library 201 Learning community

This guide will discuss the effects of Instagram on the mental health of some of its users. 

The research thesis of this guide is to explore how despite Instagram's massive popularity, the social media platform causes detrimental effects on some users’ mental health.

The research questions addressed in this guide are:

Does Instagram affect mental health?

What are the negative mental health effects?



Since the inception of Instagram in 2010, it has been an app where users gather together to share photos of their day to day lives. This comparison of self to others has had a negative impact on the mental health of some of Instagrams users. This research paper explores the relationship between Instagram and its mental health effects. The methodology used was searching SVC databases, Google Scholar, Google, taking care to use credible sources, and open access journals. There were ten articles chosen as the basis of this paper. The research results show that Instagram does appear to have a negative impact on the mental health of some of its users. The most common mental illness issues that appeared were depression, social anxiety, and body image dissatisfaction. The implications of this paper is that there needs to be further research into the repercussions of long-term Instagram usage and look into restricting or limiting access to younger users.

Background Information

Instagram is a social media platform that was originally launched as an app that was created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom, who was a Stanford graduate that worked at Google, and Mike Krieger, who was a Stanford graduate who worked on Meebo; a different social media platform, and was purchased by Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of Facebook, in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock. When Instagram was originally created, it was the brainchild of Systrom and he called it Burbn, naming it after whiskey and bourbon which he was fond of. He was inspired by Foursquare, which was a popular location-based app. Foursquare allowed users to check-in in real time with their locations and let their friends know where they were, along with posting quick status updates and earning badges. Burbn not only allowed users to check-in with their locations but to also post photos along with that check-in. After Krieger joined the project, they changed the concept to focus heavily on photos taken from their mobile devices and renamed the app to Instagram. The app focused on the images posted, with the option to add filters to the images, and leaving comments and leaving likes. Systrom and Krieger decided against a web version of their platform and launched an app only to focus on the improved photograph taking capabilities of the recently launched iPhone 4. Instagram was officially “released to the public in Apple’s App store on October 6th, 2010, and reached 25,000 users on its first day. Less than three months later it had one million users...”

Video, Graph, or Image

A cartoon of a person with her hands over her face, sitting behind laptop with Twitter logo, Facebook logo and Instagram logo on it.

The image above shows how a person using social media can be affected mentally.

All Content CC-BY.