New Measures, New Research Possibilities


imagesToday’s teens are growing up in an increasingly complex media environment, with media literally at their fingertips. It is important that researchers have the tools they need to understand the opportunities and consequences of this access and use.  This month, CcaM researchers published two new measures – the short media multitasking measure (MMM-S) and the social media disorder scale (SMD) – to help researchers better address the pressing questions of youth and media today. 

When it comes to the pressing questions of youth and media, the majority of parents, practitioners, and scholars are likely to mention concerns associated with the ‘always-connected’ lifestyle of many teens today.  Is media-multitasking “safe”? Who is doing it, and why? Is there a healthy amount of social media use? What does unhealthy or addictive social media behavior look like? When should we be concerned? These are crucial questions and yet, without the appropriate tools to assess this 21st century media lifestyle, researchers cannot adequately answer them. With these goals in mind, CcaM researchers have collaborated to develop a pair of measures assessing media multitasking and social media addiction among teens. 

In the first article, published in the Journal of Media Psychology, Susanne Baumgartner and Jeroen Lemmens along with colleagues from the VU University present the MMM-S – a 9-item scale designed to evaluate media multitasking among adolescents.  Working with a sample of 2,278 teens across two studies, researchers were able to demonstrate the usefulness, reliability, and validity of this measure. Notably, this short form works as well as its long form equivalent.

In the second article in Computers in Human Behavior, Regina van den Eijnden (U. Utrecht) along with Jeroen Lemmens and Patti Valkenburg published the SMD scale.  Across three surveys with more than 2,000 teens, these researchers were able to develop a scale with strong psychometric properties to assess social media behaviors. Importantly, this scale provides scholars with a clear diagnostic cut-off point to distinguish between disordered (i.e., addicted) and high-engaging non-disordered social media users.   

Beyond serving as a crucial steppingstone for research housed within CcaM, it is hoped that these measurement tools will help youth and media scholars better understand the opportunities and consequences of today’s digital media climate.

Click here to read the article “Measuring media multitasking: Development of a short measure of media multitasking for adolescents” published in the Journal of Media Psychology by Susanne E. Baumgartner, Jeroen S. Lemmens, Wouter D. Weeda, and Mariette Huizinga. The complete scale is included in the article. 

Click here to read the article “The social media disorder scale: Validity and psychometric properties” published in Computers in Human Behavior by Regina J.J.M. van den Eijnden, Jeroen S. Lemmens, and Patti M. Valkenburg. The complete scale is included in the article. 

If you would like more information about either article, please email CcaM at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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