“Oh, Snap!”: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Analyzing the Dark Side of Snapchat

Tasha R. Dunn, Michael R. Langlais


Snapchat, a multimedia messaging application, has over 300 million users and is currently the third most popular social media platform for young adults. Despite its popularity and unique ephemeral content, few studies examine how Snapchat is related to mental and relational health. The goal of this study therefore is to employ a mixed-methods approach to examine the dark side of Snapchat, paying close attention to how the behaviors and ephemeral content on this platform may be detrimental for young adults’ mental health and the quality of their romantic relationships. Quantitative data comes from 118 undergraduate students who completed an online survey. Qualitative data comes from 10 undergraduate students who participated in one-on-one, in-depth interviews and another 11 students who participated in two focus groups. Results reveal that intensity of Snapchat use is associated with lower mental health. Additionally, spending time on Snapchat, communicating with others on Snapchat, monitoring ex-partners on Snapchat, and using the Snap Map feature are associated with increased jealousy in romantic relationships. In short, Snapchat appears detrimental for young adults’ mental health and romantic relationships. The study concludes with practical advice for Snapchat users that may promote mental well-being and healthy romantic relationship development.


Snapchat, mixed-methods, ephemeral content, mental health, romantic relationships

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