The article titled “Social Media Posts from Friends during Late Adolescence as Predictors of Young Adult Physical Health” by David E. Szwedo and colleagues explores the longitudinal impact of social media experiences during late adolescence on physical health outcomes in young adulthood. The study delves into how specific qualities of social media interactions, such as the nature of posts received from peers at age 21, can predict various health outcomes at age 28. These outcomes include levels of inflammation (measured by Interleukin-6), sleep quality, physical functioning, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

The study incorporates a comprehensive dataset from 138 young adults who were part of a larger longitudinal study. It examines how social media interactions at a crucial age can have prolonged effects on physical health, considering both positive and negative social interactions. Positive interactions, characterized by supportive and normative communication, are linked to better health outcomes. In contrast, negative interactions, which include socially inappropriate or “faux pas” posts that deviate from established social norms, correlate with poorer health outcomes.

Key findings of the research highlight the dual nature of social media’s impact. Posts that indicated strong social ties and community integration among peers were associated with better health metrics later in life. These interactions likely provide psychological benefits that translate into physical health advantages, potentially by reducing stress and enhancing the individual’s social support network.

Conversely, the study identifies a significant health risk associated with receiving posts that deviate from accepted social norms. Such posts, which often involve inappropriate or risky content, are linked to worse health outcomes, including increased inflammation and poor sleep quality. These findings suggest that negative online social experiences can have a tangible and lasting impact on physical health, likely due to increased stress, poor social support, and potentially risky behaviors encouraged by these interactions.

The article underscores the importance of understanding the nuanced effects of social media on health over time. It calls for greater attention to the quality of social interactions young people have online, suggesting that fostering positive online environments could play a crucial role in promoting better health outcomes. Additionally, it advocates for interventions aimed at improving how young adults interact on social platforms, emphasizing the potential of these interactions to influence long-term health significantly.

In conclusion, the study by Szwedo et al. contributes valuable insights into the complex interplay between social media use and health, illustrating the long-term consequences of online social experiences during a formative period of young adulthood. It not only highlights the potential benefits of positive social media interactions but also the risks associated with negative experiences, shaping a comprehensive understanding of the broader implications of social media on physical health.


Szwedo, D. E., Davis, A. A., Fowler, C., Mikami, A. Y., & Allen, J. P. (2024). Social media posts from friends during late adolescence as predictors of young adult physical health. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 53(4), 784-798. doi: