Digital well-being theory and research
How can we live a good life both thanks to and despite the constant use of digital media?
Digital well-being concerns individual’s subjective well-being from mood to overall life satisfaction in a social environment where digital media are omnipresent. A model is developed to integrate empirical research toward a cumulative science of the impacts of digital media use on well-being. As a general framework, it describes the nature of and connections between three pivotal constructs: digital practices, harms/benefits, and well-being. Individual’s digital practices arise within and shape socio-technical structural conditions, and lead to often concomitant harms and benefits. These pathways are theoretically plausible causal chains that lead from a specific manifestation of digital practice to an individual well-being outcome with some regularity. Future digital well-being studies should prioritize descriptive validity and formal theory development.
There is nothing inherently beneficial or harmful in digital media per se, but they can and do play a role for people’s well-being – a framework to accommodate harmful and beneficial pathways from a comprehensive perspective and appropriate methods are needed.
How does digital media use affect well-being and how can research adequately capture this relationship?
This project develops a general digital well-being model providing a guide for specific, substantive theory development and empirical research towards a cumulative science of the impacts of everyday digital media use on well-being.