Putting the ‘social’ back in social media: Examining the impacts of online social integration on the mental health of university students

Our Survey

The relationships, feelings, and social experiences student survey

University students are at high risk of experiencing poor mental health, with one key risk factor being student engagement with social life at university. These conditions have only worsened over the last few years as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many universities to close their campuses and move all university student activity online for a period of time, particularly in Australia. Ongoing lockdowns have meant that even into 2022 there has been a shift to online or mixed delivery methods of university education, thus reducing the opportunity for students to connect with their peers.

Because of this seismic change to the university experience, it is necessary to consider the impact that the pandemic has had and will continue to have on students’ social integration at university. Moreover, it is important that universities understand and provide support for the various strategies and solutions students have found to engage with their peers online in the past 2 years, in lieu of face-to-face contact.

We are asking undergraduate university students to complete a short online survey about your experiences to gain a deeper understanding of student online social engagement. You will also be given the opportunity to take part in a follow-up study.

About the survey

In the survey, we are investigating undergraduate students’ experiences and relationships at university, their use of social media, and their mental health and wellbeing. The survey will take between 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on your responses.

Why participate?

We need domestic undergraduate students who are studying in Australia like yourself, and as many other students as possible, to share their experiences.

As a thank you for helping, people who take part in the survey can enter a prize draw to win one of sixty $30 eGift certificates (meaning you will have at least a one in ten chance of winning).

This research will help to inform the development of a cost-effective and scalable method of increasing university students’ social integration and improving mental health and wellbeing.

Students interested in participating in this study can read our Participant Information Sheet here and complete the survey here.

Are there any risks?

The research carries little risk, however this study does contain questions on mental health, isolation and loneliness. If this may cause you distress, please do not proceed. Please read the Participant Information sheet here carefully before deciding to participate, and remember that your participation is entirely voluntary.

This research has been approved by the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol 2021/817). Eligible participants are domestic undergraduate students (18 years +) attending any university in Australia.