César G. Escobar-Viera, MD, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

César G. Escobar-Viera, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Escobar-Viera completed his medical education and clinical training in Psychiatry in his home country of Paraguay, where he also served as CMO of the only public psychiatric hospital during the Psychiatric Reform in the country. His main research interests include leveraging social media and consumer information technology to improve both mental health outcomes and access to mental health services for minority individuals. He is currently working on two main projects. The first assesses impact of social media on mental health outcomes, with a focus on identifying risk and protective factors for depression among sexual minority individuals and other minority populations. The second project seeks to develop and assess the acceptability and usability of an evidence-based, social media-delivered psychoeducational intervention to optimize social media use and reduce social isolation among rural sexual and gender minority youth.

Dr. Escobar-Viera is an active Twitter user: follow him at @cescobarv. He enjoys attending concerts, listening to Depeche Mode, discovering new food places, and long road trips. He lives in Greenfield with his husband, and their Boston Terrier, Benito.

Education & Training

  • MD (Psychiatry), Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Paraguay, 2001
  • MPH (Concentration Management and Policy), University of Florida, 2011
  • PhD (Health Services Research), University of Florida, 2015

Representative Publications

Escobar-Viera CG, Zhou Z, Morano JP, Lucero RJ, Clauson KA, Lieb S, McIntosh S, Cook RL. The Florida mHealth Adherence Project for People Living with HIV (FL-mAPP): longitudinal assessment of feasibility, acceptability, and clinical outcomes. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 2019.

This longitudinal recruited 132 participants and the study found that a commercially available medication adherence Health application was a feasible and acceptable intervention to improve antiretroviral adherence among people living with HIV engaged in clinical care across three public HIV clinics in the state of Florida.

Escobar-Viera CG, Whitfield DL, Wessel CB, Shensa A, Sidani JE, Brown Jr AL, Chandler CJ, Hoffman BL, Marshal MP, Primack BA. For better or for worse? A systematic review of the evidence on social media use and depression among lesbian, gay, and bisexual minorities. JMIR Mental Health. 2018;5(3):e10496.

This review found that quantitative studies varied in definition and measures of social media use, with cyberbullying as the most studied social media experience. Qualitative studies qualitative studies found that while social media provides a space to disclose minority experiences and share ways to cope and get support, constant surveillance of one's social media profile can become a stressor, potentially leading to depression.

Escobar-Viera CG, Shensa A, Bowman ND, Sidani JE, Knight J, James AE, Primack BA. Passive and active social media use and depressive symptoms among United States adults. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking. 2018 Jul;21(7):437-443.

In an online survey of 702 adults, increased passive social media use was positively associated with depressive symptoms, though active social media use showed no significant association.

Primack BA, Escobar-Viera CG. Social media as it interfaces with psychosocial development and mental illness in transitional age youth. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics. 2017;26(2):217-233.

This article discusses the published literature around social media, development, and mental health, as well as pointing to future directions for research in this area.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Escobar-Viera’s works.

Research Interests

  • Mental health
  • Sexual and gender minority populations
  • Social media interventions
  • Qualitative and mixed methods