Social Media Use Strongly Linked to Depression: Study

A new study reveals that spending time on social media contributes to people’s depression  and isolation.

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Arkansas, Alabama and Oregon State has found a relationship between the use of social networks and depression due to the concept of “problematic social comparison”.

According to the research, there is a strong problem in users of having the feeling of “having a life that is not up to the standards of others”

The study

The publication of the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports used as a sample 1,000 American adults between the ages of 18 and 30, who participated in a 2018 survey conducted by Brian Primack, dean of the OSU School of Public Health and Human Sciences, who was also one of the co-authors of the article.

While respondents who used social media a lot and had a higher rate of neuroticism tended to be twice as likely to develop depression, even users who were less neurotic and more open to extraversion and agreeableness seemed to experience this elevated condition when using social media . social for five or more hours a day.

“The findings of this study are important during a time of technology expansion and integration,” said Renae Merrill, a doctoral student in public policy at the University of Arkansas. “Connecting with people virtually can increase the risk of miscommunication or misperception leading to relationship difficulties and a potential risk of developing mental health problems.”

Social media use also tends to isolate people, the study suggests, because it “reduces opportunities for in-person interactions and activities outside the home.”

What to do in these cases?

To avoid the worst effects of social media use, Merrill and colleagues suggest developing a heightened awareness of its harmful effects on our emotions and relationships.

Although this study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, its analysis speaks to mental health outcomes that are often associated with increased use of social media in the last three years, during lockdown.