Ariel Shensa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Administration and Public Health in the John G. Rangos, Sr. School of Health Sciences at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Duquesne, Dr. Shensa was the statistician for the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Shensa holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical and Translational Science from the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts degree in Research Methodology from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Chatham University.

Dr. Shensa has conducted numerous large-scale national survey studies. She was a member of the first team to investigate emerging nicotine and tobacco products-including hookah tobacco and e-cigarette use-which led to larger national surveillance efforts as well as policy change initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Shensa was involved in the development of several scales to measure social media use behaviors that have been translated and implemented internationally. These investigations resulted in over 50 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts. Dr. Shensa has been involved in projects utilizing agent-based modeling to simulate tobacco use trajectories; medical television clips to improve patient-provider communication; and media literacy to influence smoking perceptions and behaviors. Dr. Shensa's research interests include using quantitative methods to investigate social media and mental health, nicotine and tobacco use, health-related misinformation, and media literacy.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Shensa offers statistical support for RSHS faculty including but not limited to:
Data analysis
Research design
Grant proposal development
Power analysis/sample size estimation
Survey development
Manuscript writing and revisions
Statistical software


  • Ph.D., Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh
  • M.A., Research Methodology, University of Pittsburgh
  • B.A., Psychology, Chatham University

Research Interests or Expertise

  • Survey development and analysis
  • Measurement and scale development
  • Statistics
  • Research methods
  • Nicotine and tobacco
  • Social media and mental health
  • Young adults


  • Health Services Research Methods and Statistics
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Principles of Research (guest lecturer)
  • Sidani JE, Hoffman BL, Colditz JB, Melcher E, Taneja SB, Shensa A, Primack B, Davis E, Chu, KH. E-cigarette-related Nicotine Misinformation on Social Media. Substance Use & Misuse. In press 2022.
  • Primack BP, Shensa A, Sidani JE, Escobar-Viera CG, Fine MJ. Temporal associations between social media use and depression. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2021;60(2):179-188. PMID: 33309454. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.09.014.
  • Shensa A, Sidani JE, Hoffman BL, Escobar-Viera CG, Melcher EM, Primack BA, Myers SP, Burke JG. Positive and Negative Social Media Experiences Among Young Adults With and Without Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science. 2021; 6:378-387. DOI: 10.1007/s41347-020-00175-2
  • Shensa A, Sidani JE, Escobar-Viera CG, Switzer GE, Primack BA, Choukas-Bradley S. Emotional support from social media and face-to-face relationships: Associations with depression risk among young adults. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2020; 260:38-44. PMID: 31493637. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.092
  • Shensa A, Sidani JE, Escobar-Viera CG, Chu KH, Bowman ND, Knight JM, Primack BA. Real-life closeness of social media contacts and depressive symptoms among university students. Journal of American College Health. 2018;66(8):747-753. PMID: 29452042. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1440575
  • Shensa A, Sidani JE, Dew MA, Escobar-Viera CG, Primack BA. Social Media Use and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Cluster Analysis. American Journal of Health Behavior. 2018:42(2):116-128. PMID: 29458520. PMCID: PMC5904786. DOI: 10.5993/AJHB.42.2.11
  • Primack BA, Shensa A, Sidani JE, Soneji S, Hoffman BL, Sargent JD, James AE, Hoffman R, Fine MJ. Initiation of traditional cigarette smoking after electronic cigarette use among tobacco-naïve U.S. young adults. American Journal of Medicine. 2018;131(4):443. PMID: 29242110. PMCID: PMC7054856. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.11.005
  • Shensa A, Escobar-Viera, CG, Sidani JE, Bowman ND, Marshal MP, Primack BA. Problematic Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms among US Young Adults: A Nationally-Representative Study. Social Science & Medicine. 2017; 182:150-157. PMID: 28446367. PMCID: PMC5476225. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.03.061
  • Sidani, JE, Shensa A, Naidu MR, Yabes J, Primack BA. Initiation, progression, and sustained waterpipe use: A nationally-representative longitudinal study of U.S. young adults. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &Prevention. 2017;26(5):748-755. PMID: 28082346. PMCID: PMC5413431. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0687-T
  • Shensa A, Sidani JE, Lin L, Bowman ND, Primack BA. Social media use and perceived emotional support among U.S. young adults. Journal of Community Health. 2016; 41(3):541-549. PMCID: PMC3008588. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-015-0128-8
  • Shensa A, Phelps-Tschang JS, Miller E, Primack BA. A randomized crossover study of Web-based media literacy to prevent smoking. Health Education Research. 2016;31(1):48-59. PMID:26675176. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyv062