Special Issue “Well-Being in the Digital World”

15-05-2024

The Special Issue “Well-Being in the Digital World” of the Weizenbaum Journal of the Digital Society (WJDS) will focus on one of the most pertinent goals the world faces today: ensuring individual well-being. Indeed, with challenges related to mental health becoming particularly pronounced during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, numerous stakeholders question the role of technology in contributing to users’ psychological health.

On the one hand, the widespread adoption of digital solutions across most areas of human life has received significant criticism, with studies linking technology use in private settings (e.g., social media) to the continuous imposition of unrealistic beauty standards and, in consequence, worsening body perceptions (e.g., Robinson et al., 2017; Brown and Tiggemann, 2016). In a similar vein, the growing digitalization of work appears to blur the boundaries between work and leisure, increase information overload, potentially contributing to work-related stress (e.g., Giunchi et al., 2023; Stich, 2020). Despite technological capabilities to help users establish and maintain connections, the rates of loneliness are staggering (European Commission, 2021), leading countries to take measures to combat this pressing issue (e.g., Die Bundesregierung, 2018). On the other hand, technology can also be used to address these rising concerns. For example, numerous mental health apps have mushroomed in recent years, allowing users to apply relevant techniques to address their problems. All in all, even after considerable years of research, the understanding of technology-enabled well-being and mental health consequences remains fragmented. Identifying the groups most at risk due to technology use or benefitting from technology remains a challenge.

So far, progress in this area has been partly impeded by restricted access to reliable and objective technology-use data. Considering these developments and challenges, this Special Issue aims to provide room and motivate more research into the role of technology in users' well-being and mental health. Specifically, we seek contributions that help to answer the following exemplary research questions:

  • Which role do digital technologies play in users’ well-being? What are the mechanisms behind the observed relationships?
  • Who are the users most at risk to technology-enabled well-being and mental health effects?
  • How can technology be designed and leveraged to ensure users’ well-being?
  • How can technology use be best and most reliably operationalized in research to derive valid cause-effect estimates?
  • What are the long-term effects of remote work and digital collaboration on workers’ mental health and well-being?
  • Which strategies can users rely on to ensure a healthy use of social media?
  • What is virtual and augmented reality's potential in the treatment of mental health conditions in the clinical context?

The guest editors invite contributions that study this topic with interdisciplinary and multi-perspective approaches. We invite papers that apply various methodological approaches, including surveys, experiments, big data analytics, linkage designs, and qualitative methods, to name a few. Furthermore, we welcome contributions that follow very different conceptions or are designed in different formats, such as case studies, systematic or scoping literature reviews, opinion papers, and methodological or conceptual work.

Submitted contributions can, but do not have to, link to the following aspects in the field of "Well-Being in the Digital World":

  • Digital Well-Being
  • Social Media and Well-Being
  • Remote Work and Users’ Well-Being
  • Pro- and Antisocial Behavior in the Digital Sphere
  • Computer-Mediated Interpersonal Communication and Users’ Well-Being
  • Digital Content Creation and Self-Esteem
  • Digital Connection and Loneliness
  • Virtual Communities and Social Support
  • Screen Time and Sleep Quality
  • Methodological Advancement in Technology and Well-Being Effect Research
  • Digital Detox
  • Digital Multitasking Effects
  • Cyberbullying and Resilience
  • Telemedicine and Mental Health
  • Wearables and Well-Being
  • E-learning and Cognitive Development
  • Digital Technologies (e.g., Virtual Reality) in Therapeutic Settings
  • Algorithmic Management and Well-Being

Key Dates

  • Abstract (max. 2 pages, preferably 1 page) submission deadline: July 31, 2024
  • Invitation of full papers: September 1, 2024 (tentative)
  • Full Paper submission deadline: December 1, 2024 (tentative)
  • Notification of acceptance and paper reviews available: January 31, 2025 (tentative)
  • Paper revision deadline: March 15, 2025 (tentative)
  • Issue release: Summer 2025 (tentative)

Editorial Review Board (in development)

  • Katharina Baum, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
  • Annika Baumann, Weizenbaum Institute, Germany
  • Irina Heimbach, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
  • Hanna Krasnova, University of Potsdam and Weizenbaum Institute, Germany
  • Daniel B. le Roux, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Sabine Matook, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Adrian Meier, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
  • Antonia Meythaler, Weizenbaum Institute, Germany
  • Hannes-Vincent Krause, Weizenbaum Institute and University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Douglas A. Parry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Jason Thatcher, University of Colorado-Boulder, USA

Submissions

Submission of abstracts (max. 2 pages, preferably 1 page) and manuscripts will be organized using the WJDS manuscript management system and full papers should adhere to the outlined guidelines. Full papers will be invited based on the abstracts submitted. The full papers (5,000-10,000 words) will go through a double-blind peer review process. Please indicate in a cover letter that the contribution is meant for the special issue on “Well-Being in the Digital World” and which disciplines are mainly addressed in your paper.

All papers will obtain a DOI and be made available via open access and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) on the website of the WJDS. There are no publication fees. If you have any questions about the special issue, please contact us at any time. We look forward to your contribution.

 

Sources:

Brown, Z., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). Attractive celebrity and peer images on Instagram: Effect on women's mood and body image. Body image, 19, 37-43.

Die Bundesregierung (2018). Koalitionsvertrag zwischen CDU, CSU und SPD. https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/koalitionsvertrag-zwischen-cdu-csu-und-spd-195906

European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Baarck, J., Balahur, A., Cassio, L. et al., Loneliness in the EU – Insights from surveys and online media data, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2760/28343

Giunchi, M., Peña-Jimenez, M., & Petrilli, S. (2023). Work-Family Boundaries in the Digital Age: A Study in France on Technological Intrusion, Work-Family Conflict, and Stress. La Medicina del Lavoro, 114(4).

Stich, J. F. (2020). A review of workplace stress in the virtual office. Intelligent Buildings International, 12(3), 208-220.     

Robinson, L., Prichard, I., Nikolaidis, A., Drummond, C., Drummond, M., & Tiggemann, M. (2017). Idealised media images: The effect of fitspiration imagery on body satisfaction and exercise behaviour. Body image, 22, 65-71.