- Despite being digital natives, technology most affects adolescents’ biomarkers of stress.
- Fathers and adolescents experienced rises in their CAR and higher IL-6 due to technology use.
- Bedtime and general use were related to an increase in CAR for adolescents, but a decrease for fathers.
- Technology use did not affect cortisol diurnal rhythm for any family member.
- Technology use also had no effect on mothers’ biosocial markers.
This study examined how technology and media use affect stress (cortisol) and inflammation (interleukin IL-6) in dual earning parents and their adolescents. Sixty-two families reflected on their technology use the past week and collected saliva on two consecutive days that week. Technology use had the greatest effect on adolescents. Adolescents with greater phone use, general media exposure, and larger social networks via Facebook had a greater rise in their cortisol awakening response (CAR) and higher IL-6. Fathers’ phone use and email were also associated with an increase in their CAR and IL-6. When bedtime technology use was high, greater general media use was associated with an increase in CAR for adolescents, but a decrease for fathers. Technology use did not significantly affect cortisol diurnal rhythm or mothers’ biosocial markers. This study contributes empirical evidence of the physiological consequences of technology use among family members and provides potential theoretical explanations for future research.
- Technology use;
- Media use;
- Immune system;