BEACON TRANSCRIPT – It appears that the more time we spend on social media platforms, the more likely we are to experience depression, as a new study has proven. The link between Facebook and depression has long been suspected, but researchers now have tangible proof of the theory.
The study involved about 1,800 young adults aged between 19 and 32 years in order to get a clear picture of the whole situation. Researchers are now trying to understand whether social media is the one that causes depression even in happy people, or if depressed people are more likely to use Facebook than the ones who are free of the disorder.
According to Dr. Brian Primack, lead author of the study and Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health director at the University of Pittsburgh, depressed people might be more inclined to spend long periods of time on social media because they lack the energy to engage in other direct social activities. However, some facts also point towards the idea that Facebook might be causing the disorder in the first place.
The phenomenon has even been given a name: Facebook Depression, and affects people who feel they are can do so much more with their lives upon seeing the idealized life shots of their friends or celebrities. By repeatedly comparing their lives with others, many users end up with negative feelings like insecurity, anxiety, unhappiness, low self-esteem and jealousy. Not to mention that some might be affected by the low numbers of notifications or likes they receive.
This is where a vicious circle might be born: depressed people turn to social media in order to avoid outgoing activities, and upon witnessing the blossoming portraying of other people’s lives, they end up even more depressed than before.
In spite of this gloomy picture, Primack has stated that the results show overall tendencies, and do not imply that everyone is prone to the same outcome. He continued by underlining that
“In fact, there certainly are many groups of people who actually find solace and lessening of their depression through social media. However, the overall findings suggest that, on a population level, more social media use and more depression are correlated.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health of the United States, and the results were published in the Depression and Anxiety Journal, in the April 1 issue.
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