What’s already out there? – Existing Studies

Internet Use, Identity Development and Social Anxiety Among Young Adults

This study examines the relationship between the levels of Internet use and social anxiety among a sample of 161 older adolescents/young adults aged between 18 and 25. Each participants received a questionnaire to complete with themes on demographics and Internet use, as well as the Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOM-EIS) (Bennion & Adams, 1986) and the liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale: Self-Report version (LSAS-SR) (liebowitz, 1987) identity status. The results indicate higher levels of social anxiety and less mature identity statuses were linked with more recurrent Internet use, especially time spent in chatrooms, online browsing and games for males (64 participants) only. However, females (97 participants) were in this sample less socially anxious, more identity-developed, and in general lower users of the Internet, social anxiety and identity status were not significantly linked with time spent online.

Facing the fear of failure: An explorative qualitative study of client experiences in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for university students with academic evaluation anxiety

This study aimed to investigate the subjective experiences of 29 university students who participated in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for academic evaluation anxiety. Participants who referred themselves to the Student Counseling Service had individual semi-structured interviews about how they personally experienced the MBSR program. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed through a team-based explorative reflective approach based on a hermeneutic-phenomenological epistemology. Five prominent themes were identified: (1) finding an inner source of calm, (2) sharing a human struggle, (3) staying focused in learning situations, (4) moving from fear to curiosity in academic learning, and (5) feeling more self-acceptance when facing difficult situations.


Before a research project can begin it is essential that the aim, objectives and methodologies are clearly stated so that both the researcher and the participant understand what needs to be achieved. Both of these studies examine university students  and have a similar demographic and target group to what I aim to study.

Content surrounding anxiety studies are vast and wide and the content is richer than I initially thought. It is interesting to note that both these studies included interviews. Before I began researching existing studies in my head I had thought interviews would be inappropriate and cause the participant to potentially have an anxiety attack as they can be quite invasive. However, by taking a similar approach to ‘Facing the fear of failure’ and interviewing students who volunteer it helps to over come that potential issue.

The hermeneutic-phenomenological epistemology is a completely new methodology to me, it’s something I have not come across before, but it is one I should consider as it allows the researcher to understand the participants personal experience. Langdridge (2007) defines phenomenology as a discipline that “aims to focus on people’s perceptions of the world in which they live in and what it means to them; a focus on people’s lived experience” (p.4). She further clarifies that phenomenology as a qualitative method focuses on human experience as a topic in its own right. It concerns with meaning and the way in which meaning arises in experience. I think this type of methodology could allow me to really delve in and understand the individual personal experiences. The data I will be collecting will not be quantitive anyway so it makes sense to consider approaching my research in this manor.


Hjeltnes. A., Binder. P-E., Moltu. C., Dundas. I. (2015). Facing the fear of failure: An explorative qualitative study of client experiences in a mindfulness- based stress reduction program for university students with academic evaluation anxiety. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. 10:1, 27990, DOI: 10.3402/ qhw.v10.27990

Kafle, N, P. (2011). Hermeneutic phenomenological research method simplified. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5. ISSN: 2091-0479. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3626604/Hermeneutic_phenomenological_research_method_simplified

Mazalin, D., & Moore, S. (2004). Internet use, identity development and social anxiety among young adults. Behaviour Change, 21(2), 90-102. Retrieved from http://lcproxy.shu.ac.uk/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.lcproxy.shu.ac.uk/docview/219356551?accountid=13827


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