Emerging in a Digital World A Decade Review of Media Use, Effects, and Gratifications in Emerging Adulthood


media, emerging adulthood, uses and gratifications, effects, college students


This article reviews the recent literature on uses, effects, and gratifications of media during emerging adulthood. We examine traditional media forms, including television, films, video games, music, and books, and also newer media, such as cell phones, social networking sites, and other Internet use. We find that emerging adults spend more time using the media than they spend doing any other activity, with the most time being spent on the Internet and listening to music. We also find that exposure to certain types of media content can influence both positive and negative outcomes in emerging adulthood, including, aggressive and prosocial behavior, body image, sexual behavior, friendship quality, and academic achievement. We also show that emerging adults use the media to gratify certain needs; key among these are for autonomy, identity, and intimacy needs. Finally, we discuss areas for future research involving media and emerging adulthood.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & *Howard, E. (2013). Emerging in a digital world: A decade review of media use, effects, and gratifications in emerging adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 1, 125-137.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Emerging Adulthood




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor