zEbra – Social Belonging in the Real and Digital World

The project zEbra examined the associations of perceived social belongingness in real and digital life with well-being in children and adolescents. For this purpose, a measurement instrument was developed for assessing which digital networks children and adolescents use to interact with peers.

Project Description

The desire to feel socially related and included represents a fundamental human need, whose fulfillment is essential for well-being and healthy development. Nowadays, a significant proportion of daily social interactions that contribute to the fulfillment of the need for relatedness takes place in social networks such as Facebook or WhatsApp.

The project zEbra examined which platforms in the Internet children and adolescents use to interact with peers, and how such virtual interactions are associated with the fulfillment of the need for relatedness and with well-being. Furthermore, reciprocal effects of social interactions in the digital domain (e.g., on WhatsApp) and in the real world (e.g., at school) were explored. In this context, the developmental stage of late childhood and early adolescence is of particular importance, as it is characterized by an increase in the relevance of peer interactions for well-being.


IDeA Center


Schmidt, A., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (2019). The importance of peer relatedness at school for affective well‐being in children: Between‐ and within‐person associations. Social Development, 28(4), 873–892. doi:10.1111/sode.12379

Schmidt, A., Neubauer, A. B., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (2020). The bright and the dark side of peer relationships: Differential effects of relatedness satisfaction and frustration at school on affective well-being in children’s daily lives. Developmental Psychology, 56(8),1532–1546. doi:10.1037/dev0000997

Project Management

Dr. Andrea Irmer

Project Team

Project Details

Completed projects
08/2020 – 06/2022
External funding
Department: Education and Human Development
Contact: Dr. Andrea Irmer, Academic Staff

zEbra Logo – JPG-Format