The Integrative Model of ICT Effects on Adolescents’ Well-being: The Synthesis of Theories

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Smahel D., Güleç Pap H., Lokajova A., Dedkova L., Machackova H.

ECREA 2022 9th European Communication Conference, Arhus, Denmark, 19 - 22 October 2022, pp.191

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Arhus
  • Country: Denmark
  • Page Numbers: pp.191
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become commonplace in adolescents’ lives, and they have grown in importance in last years, when online communication became standard for many parts of life. This brings the need to revise and update theories for these new societal challenges. It is beneficial to look at these changes from an interdisciplinary perspective to enrich media studies and communications perspectives with knowledge from other fields. This theoretical presentation proposes the new Integrative Model of ICT Effects on Adolescents’ Well-being (iMEW), which integrates the Differential Susceptibility to Media Effects Model (DSMM) (Valkenburg & Peter, 2013) from media and communications, the Problem Behavior Theory (PBT) (Jessor, 2014) from developmental psychology, and draws inspiration from Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1977) and the Health Belief Model (Champion & Skinner, 2008). We propose the new integrative model of ICTs effects on adolescents’ well-being which will allow us to better understand the  current development of adolescents. For the  well-being, we used the  definition suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2001), which recognizes three dimensions: (a) physical well-being, which consists of health perception, the absence of disease, and correct physical functionality (Minkkinen, 2013); (b) psychological well-being, which includes the presence of positive, and the absence of negative, affects; and (c) social well-being, which covers the quality of relationships with others, and includes social support, social acceptance, and social integration. The iMEW revised the DSMM and enriches it in several aspects. First, we elaborated on the types of differential susceptibility variables in the DSMM (Valkenburg & Peter, 2013). The DSMM suggests dispositional, developmental, and social factors as the differential susceptibility variables. In iMEW, for the dimension of individual factors, we described the factors that can be labeled as dispositional in a more structured way. We also suggested the integration of developmental tasks into individual-, social-, and country-level factors under differential susceptibility variables. The iMEW developed more structure in the section related to media use by pointing out several important dimensions of online activities that may have impact on the outcomes of ICT use. The iMEW also expands the focus of the PBT (Jessor, 2014) from the role of risk and protective factors in risky adolescent behaviors — identified here as online behaviors — to how such risks and benefits are related to the well-being and developmental goals of adolescents. The iMEW offers a framework to examine the effects of ICTs on adolescents’ well-being. This framework involves both ICT-related and unrelated variables, focuses on micro-level and macro-level context, and it is specifically tailored to examine the well-being and relations in the context of developmental goals during adolescence. Researchers can use this framework as a roadmap for thinking about the complex interrelationships among the variables. This may be specifically helpful for research questions, where previous studies show inconsistent findings as a result of omitting the third variables (i.e., moderators, mediators), or where researchers need to incorporate ICT usage into their hypothesized models.