Jessica L. Hamilton, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh
#SleepyandSad: The role of social media use and sleep in adolescent depression and suicide
Rates of depression and suicide increase during the adolescent transition, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 15-24. Although there are a myriad of contributing factors, social stressors and sleep disturbance have consistently been linked to first onset and recurrence of depression and suicidality (i.e., suicidal thoughts and behavior). Dr. Jessica Hamilton will discuss the developmental context of adolescent depression and suicide, the modern-day context of social stress via social media use, and research on incorporating smartphone technology into these areas of research.
Dr. Hamilton is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently funded by the NIH T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine program. Dr. Hamilton graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in Psychology and History. She received a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Temple University in 2017 after completing a clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
Dr. Hamilton’s research focuses on the interplay of social, cognitive-affective, and biological risk factors for adolescent depression and suicide, with an emphasis on understanding sex and gender differences. Her research bridges areas of clinical and developmental psychology, sleep medicine, affective science, and psychophysiology. Dr. Hamilton’s current work is focused on understanding how social media and sleep impact typical and atypical adolescent development in risk for depression and suicide, and using innovative technological approaches to assess these processes in real-world contexts.
Dr. Hamilton has 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts in such journals as Clinical Psychological Science and Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. She also has a chapter on technology use and teen mental health in an upcoming book, Technology and Adolescent Behavior. She is a member of the Editorial board for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and actively reviews for over 30 journals, including American Journal of Psychiatry, Developmental Psychology, Sleep Health, and Lancet Psychiatry. Dr. Hamilton has presented her work locally, nationally, and internationally.