Celeste Campos-Castillo

Below are excerpts from this grantee’s quarterly reports.

Final Report

In Year 1, we conducted semi-structured interviews with Latino adolescents to understand how they manage each other’s privacy on social media and how this is related to their mental wellbeing. A key finding is that some were reluctant to alert a parent/guardian when they learned through social media that a friend was struggling with their mental wellbeing, because they were concerned that the parent/guardian would get angry. In Year 2, we conducted national surveys of adolescents and parents/guardians to assess whether this finding was unique among Latinos and also determine how the pandemic may have affected the social support systems that adolescents draw upon for mental wellbeing. A key finding is that both Black and Latino adolescents are reluctant to alert a parent/guardian when they learned through social media that a friend is struggling with mental wellbeing. Both groups reported concerns that their parents/guardians would likely get angry. A key finding from the parent/guardian survey is that there were no racial or ethnic differences in willingness to assist when an adolescent child learns through social media that their friend is struggling with mental wellbeing. An important takeaway, which we shared with the Latino community in Milwaukee, is the need for parents/guardians to communicate their availability as a source of social support for their children and friends.

Year 2 Quarter 3

Briefly restate the specific aims or objectives associated with this project.

Our first aim is to field a national survey experiment to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent co-manager behaviors, specifically to examine factors shaping the willingness of co-managers to seek help from adults on behalf of a friend displaying signs of depression through their social media account. Based on findings from both years, our second aim is to initiate parent support panels for Latinx communities in Milwaukee to discuss and disseminate expertise about social media and mental wellness.

Summarize what was accomplished with regard to these aims in the present quarter.

We hired a graduate student in sociology who assisted in piloting the survey experiment by completing ten cognitive interviews with adolescents. Participants were diverse with respect to ethnicity, gender, and geographical location. Based on feedback from these interviews, we finalized the ten-minute survey experiment. AmeriSpeak has completed programming the survey experiment and has begun identifying a nationally representative sample of adolescents to invite to complete the study. Our goal is to field the parallel study to administer to parents/guardians of adolescents around the same timeframe.

Year 2 Quarter 2

Summarize what was accomplished with regard to these aims in the present quarter.

After soliciting input from the parent coach on our team, Tia Fagan, and other content experts, we developed a draft of the survey items and stimuli for the survey experiment. The survey items measure pandemic experiences and impacts such as the way adolescents view themselves, their access to social support, relationships with parents/guardians and other adults, disruptions to routines, mental wellbeing, and media use. We are preparing to conduct cognitive interviews (over video)and will send the final version to AmerSpeak for programming and fielding. As a complement to this survey experiment, we are developing a parallel study to administer to parents/guardians of adolescents. We have contracted Qualtrics to field the study.

Year 2, Quarter 1 Update

Summarize what was accomplished with regard to these aims in the present quarter.

We have contracted with AmeriSpeak to field the survey experiment to a nationally representative sample of 13 to 17 year-olds in the U.S, with attempts to oversample Black and Latinx respondents. The survey will be fielded January to February 2021. We have begun to identify potential factors shaping the willingness of co-managers to seek help from adults through reviewing the literature on COVID-19 and engaging the expertise of the parent coach on our team, Tia Fagan.

Quarter 4 Update

Briefly restate the specific aims or objectives associated with this project

Aim 1: To identify the norms and practices that Latinx adolescents from communities in Milwaukee use to manage the privacy of each other on social media.

Aim 2: To use information from Aim 1 to develop and disseminate guidelines for how Latinx adolescents can manage each other’s privacy to support their mental wellbeing.

In what way did your project provide opportunities for training or professional development?

Our project identified two key needs for professionals who support Latinx youth. First, while Latinx youth were most likely to alert their own parent about their concerns for a friend, school staff (teachers, counselors, principals) were another common confidant. Yet, based on our conversations with school staff, they rarely viewed students as a source of information about the mental wellness of each other or offered mechanisms for students to share their concerns about friends anonymously. Second, based on our conversations with parent coaches, while they are well-versed in helping equip parents with strategies to support the mental wellness of their own children, they need more guidance about intervening on behalf of another parent’s child. Additionally, parent coaches in Southeast Wisconsin are also undertrained in working with Latinx communities.

Quarter 3 Update

Briefly summarize (3-5 sentences) what was accomplished with regard to these aims in the present quarter.

Based on our analysis, we have developed a working theory describing when Latinx youth are likely to conceal and reveal information indicative of anxiety and depression. The theory identifies resources Latinx youth draw upon to determine whether and how to help their friends access mental health resources, highlighting potential pathways for interventions to enrich available resources.

Tell us about key learnings you’ve uncovered over the course of your project, including advice you might give to investigators conducting similar work.

We learned that the current social and political climate appears to uniquely shape the experiences of Latinx adolescents on social media. While our initial questions did not ask explicitly about discrimination, police force, and deportation of undocumented immigrants, several of our first participants volunteered this information unprompted, either when responding to questions about social media usage and mental health, or after the interview completed. In response, we adapted the interview guide to include a question on this issue.

Quarter 2 Update

Tell us about the anticipated or real-time impact of this project.

Our initial coding reveals a potential opportunity to offer community resources. We are finding that Latinx youth are eager to help their friends access mental health support, despite it requiring a breach in trust and privacy, but some may need more education about when to intervene. Further, the people Latinx youth seek for help on behalf of their friends, which includes parents and other adult family members, may need education regarding how to intervene effectively. The guidelines we develop to achieve Aim 2 will work toward offering these educational resources to the community.

Tell us about problems encountered, changes to your approach, and reasons behind these changes.

We were initially planning on focusing the guidelines to educate only the Latinx youth, but our initial coding suggests we may need to also develop guidelines for the adults caring for Latinx youth. Our initial plan was to seek input from adult caretakers about the guidelines for youth, but we are now planning on seeking their input about the possibility of developing guidelines for how they can also intervene to help the friends of the youth in their care.

Quarter 1 Update

Tell us what excites you about the funded project.

When we met with Latinx youth on May 2019 to get their input on our research design, we were astounded by how eager they were to share how important social media was to their lives. They use it to poke fun at one another, yet also recognize that things can at times escalate and cross informational boundaries. For example, one adolescent described how she felt it was inappropriate for peers to share details online about chronic fighting occurring between two people at school because it only prolonged the bickering. Our meeting with them affirmed the importance of identifying when social media turns from beneficial to harmful. And, yes, they did check their phones during our gathering!

Tell us more about your team!

Katie Craig is studying the positive and negative effects of the social media content from bodybuilders on body image and diet. Paulina Lim is currently training to be a child psychologist and wants to care for English and Spanish-speaking clients. Andrea Bishop will be joining the team in July and just graduated high school in Waukesha, WI. The PI’s mom is an honorary member of the team and inspects materials translated into Spanish.

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