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New Study Links Heavy Use Of Social Media To Depression

29 March 2016, 5:03 am EDT By Jereal Cawis Tech Times
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Many youngsters and millennials have their social media accounts, almost all of the teens have Facebook, young adults signed up on Linkedin, and ads are all over Instagram and YouTube. Social media has been a part of our lives, but how do these platforms really affect our psyche?

The current generation is into social media so much, not knowing that the longer they spend time on it, the higher the possibility of getting depressed, says a research.

This is the first broad-ranged study to determine the relation between social media and depression. Unlike previous researches that used limited samples, or focused on a single social media platform, the new study acquired data from various social media commonly visited by young adults.

The researchers sampled more than 1,787 U.S. young adults with the age of 19 to 32. They also took note of the participants' ethnicity, gender, race, relationship status, household income, education status and living situation as controlled variable in determining depression.

"Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use," said the study's senior author, Dr. Brian Primack of Pitt's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health.

Researchers used questionnaires to examine the participants' social media habit, and a proven assessment tool to determine depression.

The series of questions covered 11 common social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vine, and Tumblr.

The study found that participants spent 61 minutes a day on social media and visited various platforms about 30 times per week. Not less than 25 percent of the participants showed high symptoms of depression.

The researchers said that there is a relevant relation between social media use and depression, whether it was measured by the time they spend or the visits they make.

"It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void," said Lui Yi Lin, lead author of the study and a graduating student from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Research says that these findings could guide clinical and public health treatments tackling depression, which could become the top cause of disability in high-income nations come 2030.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Health, and published in the April issue of Depression and Anxiety.

Photo: Jason Howie | Flickr

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