Social Media Use Does NOT Lead To Depression, Study Finds

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Social media use does not
predict later depression, research finds.
Using social media does not
predict the onset of depression, concludes new research.
The conclusion contradicts
previous studies claiming that social media use causes depression.
The latest study, unlike
previous investigations, followed people for up to six years to see which came
first, social media use or depression.
The results showed that
heavier social media users did not become more depressed later on.
However, one group of young
people (adolescent girls) who were already depressed did end up using social
media more.
This suggests social media use
does not cause depression, but could be a way of dealing with it (whether
successful or not).
Ms
Taylor Heffer, the study’s first author, said:
“This finding contrasts with
the idea that people who use a lot of social media become more depressed over
time. Instead, adolescent girls who are feeling down may turn to social media
to try and make themselves feel better.”
The study followed 594
Canadian children from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades for two years, as well as
1,132 undergraduate students for six years.
Ms
Heffer explained the reasoning behind this strategy:
“You have to follow the same
people over time in order to draw the conclusion that social media use predicts
greater depressive symptoms. By using two large longitudinal samples, we were
able to empirically test that assumption.”
The results showed that social
media use did not predict later depression.
However, specifically among
adolescent girls, being depressed predicted increasing use of social media.
Ms
Heffer said:
“There may be different groups
of people who use social media for different reasons. For example, there may be
a group of people who use social media to make social comparisons or turn to it
when they are feeling down, while another group of people may use it for more
positive reasons, such as keeping in contact with friends.”
The study was published in the
journal Clinical Psychological Science (Heffer et al., 2019).

SOURCE:
PSYBLOG

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.