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Social media use and subjective well-being among university students in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic

Shaoyu Ye (University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan)
Kevin K.W. Ho (University of Tsukuba, Tokyo, Japan)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 27 February 2024




This study explored how the use of different social media is related to subjective well-being among university students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.


We surveyed 1,681 university students in the Kanto region of Japan in May 2021 to investigate how social media use relates to subjective well-being. We also examined the effects of self-consciousness and friendship, self-presentation desire, generalized trust, online communication skills, depression tendency and social support from others.


The responses revealed 15 possible patterns of social media usage on four widely used social media in Japan (LINE, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). We selected users with the top five patterns for further statistical analyses: LINE/Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, LINE/Twitter/Instagram, LINE/Twitter, LINE/Instagram and LINE only. Overall, self-establishment as a factor of self-consciousness and friendship, and social support from others had positive effects on the improvement of subjective well-being, whereas depression tendency had negative effects on their subjective well-being regardless of their usage patterns, of which the results of social support from others and depression tendency were consistent with the results of previous studies. Regarding other factors, they had different effects on subjective well-being due to different patterns. Effects on subjective well-being from self-indeterminate and self-independency as factors of self-consciousness and friendship, praise acquisition, self-appeal and topic avoidance as factors of self-presentation desire were observed.


This is among the earliest studies on the relationship between young generations’ social media use and subjective well-being through social media usage patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.



This study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (No. 21H03770) (Principal Investigator: Associate Professor and Dr Shaoyu Ye). The authors would like to thank all the students who helped answer this survey and all the people for their kind cooperation.


Ye, S. and Ho, K.K.W. (2024), "Social media use and subjective well-being among university students in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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