A new study suggests addiction may be linked with the high use of social media in people with depression. People who check social media most frequently throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who check it least often, the study found.
Compared with peers who spend less time on social media, people who spend the most time on social media throughout the day are 1.7 times more likely to be depressed, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found.
Addiction seemed to explain about three-fourths of the effect of social media use on depression, the researchers report in Depression and Anxiety.
“It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void,” researcher Lui yi Lin said in a news release.
“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,” coauthor Ariel Shensa told Reuters.
The study included 1,787 participants ages 19 to 32. They were asked about their depressive symptoms, social media use and addictive behaviors. Their social media use was measured by the number of times they visited and amount of time they spent on 11 popular media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit.
They found half the participants spent at least an hour daily on non-work related social media use, and made 30 site visits weekly.