May 1, 2019 SOMS

The Relationship between Social Media and Depression

It is well known that social media has a major impact on our lives, but how does it really affect us?

A study made by the University of Amsterdam revealed that the passive use of social media (also called PSMU – passive social media use) leads to depression-like symptoms such as loneliness and fatigue. Even though scrolling through social media feeds is a time-consuming routine, a lot of people do this every day. The study was made with 125 students, measuring how they felt seven times a day for 14 days. They were asked to complete a 12 item questionnaire at fixed times, thing made possible by an app on their phones. The study concentrated on three periods of time: short-term (2 hours), medium-term (from one inquiry to the other) and long-term (the entire 14 days). The surprising thing with this study is that PSMU did not predict depression symptoms; it was quite the other way around: a negative mood lead to an escalation in social media use. The short-term timeframe revealed that PSMU also came with ‘a loss of interest, concentration problems, fatigue and loneliness’.

The link between focusing and social media is interesting as well: students who experience less concentration problems tend to spend less time on social media at a given timeframe, the opposite being likewise (more concentration problems resulted in more time spent on social media). It is not yet known if PSMU is the cause of those symptoms or if it’s the other way around. George Aalbers, (UvA Research Master’s graduate in Psychology and lead author of the study) underlines the fact that the relation between social media and general well-being is more complicated than ‘social media make people depressed’. He claims that specific PSMU is correlated with specific depression symptoms, but the link between the two is not fully known yet.

The next thing to do, as researchers declare, is to reproduce the discovery in a clinical context, the results being able to show an unmistakable correlation between PSMU and depression symptoms. Do you want to learn more about this? If your answer is ‘yes’, check the article below: https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fxge0000528

Vina Gabriela – SOMS Wisp of Science

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