In a recent study of addiction, social media and depression, the studies have linked the use of social media to depression, but addiction to social media, rather than use alone, may explain the connection, new research suggests.
“We believe that at least having clinicians be aware of these associations may be valuable to them as they treat patients with depressive disorders. For example, they may wish to inquire about social media use patterns and determine if those patterns are maladaptive,” co-author Ariel Shensa of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said by e-mail.
Shensa and her team randomly selected 1,763 participants, ages 19-32, and asked them about their depressive symptoms, social media use and addictive behaviours.
Social-media use was measured by the number of visits and amount of time spent on 11 popular social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit.
To assess addiction to social media, the researchers modified a survey called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, looking at addictive behaviours such as mood modification, withdrawal and relapse.
As expected, high social-media usage was linked to higher addiction scores. But after taking addiction scores into consideration, social-media use and depression were not significantly linked.
Addiction and depression did appear to be linked, however. Addiction seemed to explain roughly three-quarters of the effect of social media use on depression, the researchers found.
“Ultimately, it appears that the way social media is used, rather than the amount social media is used, leads to maladaptive outcomes,” said Lindsay Howard of the Virginia Consortium program in clinical psychology in Norfolk, who was not involved in the study.
“Physicians should educate their patients regarding how social-media use may be related to depression and other negative outcomes”. To read more click here.
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