Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teacher Education

Major Professor

David F. Cihak

Committee Members

Marion Coleman-Lopatic, Tara C. Moore, Jennifer A. Morrow


Social media (SM) use statistics for young adults with intellectual disability (ID) are more than 70% lower than young adults without ID (Anderson & Jiang, 2018; Jenaro, et al., 2018; Smith & Anderson, 2018). While there are benefits to young adults with ID using SM, concerns related to online safety continue to result in decisions that prohibit SM use and/or prevent SM use education for these young adults. Currently, few online resources provide SM safety education specifically for these young adults. Additionally, no research has investigated instructional strategies that can be used when teaching SM safety to young adults with ID. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation was to identify the need for these instructional strategies, propose a possible SM safety instructional strategy, and assess the effectiveness of this proposed solution.Study 1 of this dissertation explored the SM risk combating knowledge, perceptions of SM use, SM use, and desire to use SM of young adults with ID through the implementation of a nationally distributed accessible online survey. Results indicated that young adults with ID desired to learn more about using SM, perceived SM as beneficial to use, already used SM platforms, did not have knowledge of addressing risks pertaining to hacked accounts, and mainly learned SM use from family. Facebook was the most used SM platform and Twitter was the least used. The platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were reported as easy to use, while Twitter was identified as hard to use and the least desired to be used.Study 2 proposed the instructional strategy of using a visual checklist and corrective feedback to teach young adults with ID the skill of electronic message safety level identification. Effectiveness of this strategy was assessed through the implementation of a single-subject multiple probe across participants design in which accuracy of electronic safety level identification was measured through online simulations. Generalization into the platforms of Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, as well as skill maintenance, were evaluated. All five female participants immediately improved on identification accuracy, generalized this skill into SM platforms, and maintained the skill two weeks later.

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