TAM Data Consortium

The Technology & Adolescent Mental Wellness program (TAM) is driven by three primary goals. First, we aim to develop community and foster ongoing collaboration. Second, we aim to promote new research on adolescent technology use and mental wellness. Third, we aim to disseminate research findings using both traditional and nontraditional approaches.

The TAM Data Consortium advances the three primary goals of the TAM Program by overseeing a process for ethically sharing anonymized research data and cultivating research partnerships between investigators. All research data pertains to technology use and adolescent mental wellness. As always, TAM’s foundational question is this: How can technology support adolescent mental wellness?

Why now?

Data sharing is an increasingly accepted and encouraged practice. The NIH calls data sharing “essential for expedited translation of research results into knowledge, products and procedures to improve human health.” It allows investigators to maximize the value of existing datasets, while also providing new research opportunities for investigators at other institutions.

Research data on youth that pertains to their technology use and mental health is now more necessary than ever; not only has technology use increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but popular news coverage of adolescent technology use has painted an alarming picture – not always with empirical support.

However, collecting this data often presents challenges to researchers, including troubles with recruitment, consent, privacy, and confidentiality. COVID-19 has also magnified longstanding disparities between more- and less-privileged investigators. The TAM Data Consortium facilitates the sharing of data and creation of research partnerships in the hopes of advancing the research careers of those under-represented in science and improving the mental wellness of adolescents and their families.

With support from the Susan Crown Exchange, seven researchers have presented or published seven studies using TAM Data Consortium data. Investigators interested in receiving or sharing anonymized data related to adolescent technology use and wellness are invited to contact tamprogram@pediatrics.wisc.edu.

Data sources

In 2020, TAM developed and refined a stepwise process for sharing our own research data with other institutions, with oversight from our Institutional Review Board, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and our campus honest broker. In 2021, we expanded and adapted that process to safely and ethically share our own data, receive others’ research data, and handle data requests. In 2023, we continue to share data with investigators. There are over 45 variables available. If you would like to share a portion of a dataset with the TAM Data Consortium, or if you would like to collaborate with other investigators in the use of your data, please reach out to tamprogram@pediatrics.wisc.edu.

Who can join the TAM Data Consortium

Any investigator interested in research collaborations related to the foundational question can join the consortium. However, TAM Data Consortium seeks specifically to support researchers traditionally under-represented in science, and to help advance research careers of those adversely affected by COVID-19. Thus, prioritized data recipients include sexual, gender, and racial minority researchers, as well as graduate school students and investigators early in their careers. We also support youth in identifying research mentors, alongside whom they can apply to receive data.

TAM Data Consortium availability

Available now:

Youth Health and Social Media 2019 Study dataset:

  • National online survey of over 3000 parent-teen dyads
  • Surveyed parent-teen dyads on
    • 1) technology use
    • 2) parent-child relationships
    • 3) mental and physical health

Health and Tech Use dataset:

  • National online survey of 6000 young adults
  • Surveyed young adults on
    • 1) problematic use of the internet, video games, and social media
    • 2) risk behaviors, health concerns, and mental health conditions

Youth Health and Social Media 2021 Study dataset:

  • National online survey of 2000 teens
  • Survey teens on
    • 1) technology behaviors
    • 2) mental and physical health

Data shared with the TAM Data Consortium will include a diverse array of quantitative data, all pertaining to adolescent technology use and mental wellness.

Process for data recipients

To receive data several steps must be taken to ensure we adhere to all data sharing standards, rules, and priorities. An overview of the steps includes:

  1. Meet with TAM staff to discuss available datasets
  2. Create a brief research proposal to identify the dataset and variables of interest
  3. Ensure the protection of human subjects through an IRB application to recipient’s home institution
  4. Complete a Data Use Agreement
  5. TAM delivers the anonymized data securely using Box
  6. TAM stays in touch to provide support, share resources related to dissemination, and to learn about products and findings
Process for data providers

Interested in sharing data in the TAM Data Consortium? Or maybe you’d like to collaborate in the use of your data? Here are the next steps:

  1. Meet with TAM staff to discuss dataset and, if applicable, interest in collaboration
  2. Work with your IRB to obtain clearance to share data while protecting human subjects
  3. With TAM’s assistance, prepare the data set and data key for sharing or collaboration
  4. With templates provided by TAM, provide sufficient details about your study such that an investigator unfamiliar with the work could complete a secondary analysis and draft a manuscript

TAM Data Recipient Experiences


%d bloggers like this: