Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Anxiety: An Epidemic was originally inspired by the mental health crisis in my hometown, Palo Alto, California, and evolved to specifically focus on social media-related anxiety. I examined the question: How has social media evolved over the last decade and what effect does the proliferation of social media have on the young adult population? I hypothesized that social media would have a predominately negative effect, especially on young women, and set out to create a theatrical piece inspired by my research. In my meta-analysis of studies conducted, I found that more data needs to be collected on the relatively new phenomena surrounding social media usage both as positive and negative forces. The research I conducted inspired two new artistic works: a physical theatre piece entitled MASKS: An Ode to Young Women, and a children’s story entitled “The King Who Lost His Smile” (both artistic works can be found in full in appendix A). I discovered that while more research needs to be conducted to definitively find if social media usage has a predominantly positive or negative effect, the artistic works I created can serve as a forum to start important conversations between young adults and their communities at large about their experiences with anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms.