Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Marketing and Sales

Additional Departmental Affiliation


Document Type



As the internet and social media become more prominent in today’s society, it is important for marketers and others to understand who is using these platforms and how this usage affects overall happiness. Using data gathered from the General Social Survey (GSS) 2016 Cross-Section and a survey created and distributed to Western Kentucky University (WKU) Students, this research examines the effect of demographic variables on whether or not respondents utilize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Then, the impact of having accounts on these social media platforms on users’ overall general happiness is analyzed. Several other regressions were run and analyzed based on the WKU survey results to examine the impact of a variety of social media aspects on overall happiness. The main findings revealed that females have a predominant and statistically significant presence over males on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and those younger in age are more likely to be present on all platforms examined. Contrary to many diversifying opinions shown in previous research on the impact of social media on overall happiness, there was no statistical significance from these findings from either data source. However, it was found that motivation to use social media influenced happiness as well as frequency of usage. The impact of these results on marketers is then discussed.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Joanna Phillips-Melancon, Dr. Stephen Locke, Dr. Chris Keller


Economics | Marketing