New Study Investigates Link Between Social Media, Depression, and Anxiety

in psychology •  3 years ago 

A recent study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, investigated the link between having multi-social media accounts and depression/anxiety. They discovered that the use of multiple media platforms by young adults was strongly linked with depression or anxiety. That didn't change even when they accounted for the total overall time that the individual spent online.

Individuals who reported that they used at least 7 to 11 different social media platforms, were found to be at least 3 times more at risk of depression and anxiety than their peers who used fewer platforms.

They discovered the results thanks to a national survey and the analysis has been published online and scheduled for release in the April issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior. The association found was so strong that the researchers have suggested that for those who do suffer from depression or anxiety, their healthcare providers might want to consider addressing whether or not their excessive social media use is related to their symptoms.

However, it's unclear whether or not those individuals, who are more at risk to develop depression and anxiety, are simply seeking out to use those platforms, or if those platforms are contributing to the onset of that problem for many. Other studies in the past have found excessive social media use linked to a number of issues, from sleep disturbance to anxiety, and more.

The participants in the survey responded to a number of questions about their social media use, including their time spent using some of the most popular platforms: Google Plus, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and others.

Individuals who reported using 7+ social media platforms, had 3.1 odds of reporting higher levels of depression than those who used fewer platforms.

The researchers sought to control for a number of factors that might contribute to depression or anxiety, like gender, race, income, relationship status, education, and the total time that was spent overall on social media.

The team involved in the recent study has proposed a number of hypotheses to explain the findings. They suggest that multitasking on the numerous social media platforms is related to poor cognitive and mental health outcomes for the individual. They also suggest that the various platforms online are difficult to continually juggle and navigate through, which could prompt negative moods and emotions. Understanding how people go about using various social media platforms, as well as the details surrounding the possible depression and anxiety that comes with that, are areas for further research to be conducted in the future.


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