HomeClinical Trials and ResearchNew Study Associates Social Media Use With Depression - March 23, 2016

New Study Associates Social Media Use With Depression – March 23, 2016

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found that young adults with higher use of social media have greater chance of depression


A new study has correlated the use of social media among young adults in the US with increased chances of depression. This has been the first study to examine the association between social media use and depression on a large, nation-wide scale.

The researchers sampled 1,787 U.S. adults ranging from 19 to 32 years old, using questionnaires to determine their social media use and a reliable depression assessment tool. The researchers measured the use of a wide range of social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The results revealed that participants used social media for 61 minutes each day and visited social media platforms over 30 times per week. The results also revealed that more than 25% of the participants were classified as having depression. Researchers noted that the more time young adults used social media, the more likely it was that they would show signs of depression. Participants who checked their social media accounts more frequently had a 2.7 times greater chance of having depression, than participants who checked social media platforms less frequently. Participants who spent the most time on social media also had a 1.7 times greater chance of having depression, in comparison to adults that spent less time.

Researchers had a few explanations as to why there was such a strong association of social media use with depression. Exposure to highly idealized presentations of peers on social media could instill feelings of envy and sadness and that increased time spent on social media increased the chances of cyber-bullying or other negative communications.

Researchers hope the results from this study will help in implementing public health interventions to help people dealing with depression, as it becomes a major cause for concern. Depression is forecast to become the leading cause of disability in high-income countries by 2030.






Written by Mariana Nikolova, BSc



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