Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Undergraduate)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Nicholas Jacobson

Second Advisor

Temiloluwa Prioleau

Third Advisor

Soroush Vosoughi


Especially among adolescents, screens are being used more than ever. In conjunction with this trend, mental illness is increasingly prevalent among both adults and children, and parental psychological problems are shown to be associated with children's TV watching, video watching, and gaming (Pulkki-Råback et al., 2022). This study aims to approach parent mental illness symptom by symptom to explore which specific symptoms are most central to parent psychological problems in households where children show high screen time behaviors. We draw from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study®), a nationwide sample of 11,875 children aged 10-13 collected by the National Institute of Mental Health. We utilize Mixed Graphical Models (MGMs) on both polychoric and dichotomized data, using the Extended Bayesian Information Criterion to choose the best models. Within our polychoric data, we pinpoint “I feel worthless and inferior” as a symptom with both high bridge betweenness and strength between symptom communities within high screen time household networks. Within binary high child screen time networks, we find “I have trouble making decisions” as a parent symptom with high bridge strength and betweenness that is central to the overall structure of the network. Finally, we believe our approach could be more successfully applied to other psychological datasets with more nonzero responses to parent psychological symptoms to further illuminate parent symptoms that are important in households with high child screen time. Our analyses do not establish causality because our data is cross-sectional.