A new study links heavy social media use with depression among young adults. With a constant feed of friends enjoying lovely vacations, getting married, having babies, and tweeting their successes, some people who are prone to depression may feel that they just do not measure up.
The study from the University of Pittsburgh involved research conducted among 1,787 men and women ages 18-32, which focused on how social media affects their psychological state. Researchers found that study participants spent an average of 61 minutes on social media sites daily, and visited social media platforms 30 times a week. Over a quarter of the participants had high indicators for depression.
The lead author of the study is Lui yi Lin, a student at the School of Medicine. She explained that the team deliberately chose to examine younger people because they are the largest percentage of social media users. Social media habits were discovered through questionnaires, and the team determined the presence of depression with an assessment tool.
“There have been other studies that centered on depression and Facebook, but this is a more comprehensive look at how young people are using all forms of social media, from Instagram to Snapchat,” she said. “We still don’t know the cause and effect, but it’s something we should continue to study. It may be that people who are already depressed are turning to social media to fill a void.”