Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Kelly Yordy

Second Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Todd Ream


Social media is pervasive in today’s culture, and this reality is true among college students as well. As a result, students must understand what, if any, impact social media usage had on their lives, specifically self-esteem. This quantitative, true experiment answered the question “What impact does social media usage have on the self-esteem of college students?” For the purpose of this study, social media usage was defined as time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. This study took place at a private, small, four-year, liberal arts institution in the Midwest and included 61 participants. Participants were asked to voluntarily participate in a four-week study in which they were randomly assigned to one of two groups, abstaining from social media usage for the four weeks or continuing social media usage for the four weeks. These participants completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale as a pre-test and post-test to the experiment. The group of students who abstained from social media usage were given five open-ended questions to answer in the post-test of the study .The results indicated the self-esteem of college students is not impacted by social media usage. Students and higher education professionals should consider the ways social media usage influence their lives.