Tuesday June 25, 2019

Premature to Say Social Media Use Leads to Depression

Examining the role that these differences play will help clarify the ways in which social media interacts with mental health, with implications for parents, policymakers, and healthcare professionals alike, the study noted

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carbon, digital
Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Use of social media does not necessarily cause depressive symptoms later in adolescents and young adults, according to a recent research.

The study, however, showed that relatively higher depressive symptoms resulted due to more social media use later only among adolescent girls.

The latest study stands in contrast to recent claims that suggests teenagers’ use of social media could lead to depression.

“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,” said lead author Taylor Heffer from the Brock University in Canada.

For the study, the team surveyed 594 adolescents and 1,132 college undergraduates.

The results, published in Clinical Psychological Science, showed that social media use did not predict depressive symptoms later among adolescents or college undergraduates; rather, greater depressive symptoms predicted more social media use over time, but only among adolescent girls.

Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder. Flickr

“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,” said Heffer.

Overall, the research suggests that the fear surrounding social media use and its impact on mental health may be premature.

“When parents read media headlines such as ‘Facebook Depression’, there is an inherent assumption that social media use leads to depression,” added Heffer.

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In addition, different groups of people use social media for different reasons including making social comparisons or while feeling down. While another group of people may use it for more positive reasons, such as keeping in contact with friends, according to the study.

Examining the role that these differences play will help clarify the ways in which social media interacts with mental health, with implications for parents, policymakers, and healthcare professionals alike, the study noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Comments on Social Media May Hinder Credibility of Health Professionals

The only factor that influenced viewers’ perception of the profile owner’s professionalism was a single work day frustration comment

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India Polls, Fake News, Millions
Mostly first-time smartphone users, from the smaller towns and rural areas with no prior digital experience -- are particularly vulnerable to sharing fake information on social media platforms. Pixabay

For health professionals, posting a single negative comment on their Facebook profiles may hinder their credibility with current or potential clients, according to a study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, show that Facebook posts that may affect people’s perceptions of professionalism.

Researchers found that only one subtle comment posted expressing workplace frustration was enough for people to view one as a less credible health professional.

“This study provides the first evidence of the impact a health professionals’ personal online disclosures can have on his/her credibility,” said Serge Desmarais, Professor at the University of Guelph in Canada.

“This finding is significant not only because health professionals use social media in their personal lives, but are also encouraged to use it to promote themselves and engage with the public,” Desmarais said.

For the study, the research team involved more than 350 participants who viewed a mock Facebook profile and rated the profile owner’s credibility and then rated their own willingness to become his client.

carbon, digital
Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York. VOA

The researchers tested factors, including the identified gender of the Facebook profile owner, whether they listed their profession as a veterinarian or medical physician and whether their profile included a posting of an ambiguous work day comment or a comment expressing frustration.

The only factor that influenced viewers’ perception of the profile owner’s professionalism was a single work day frustration comment.

On a scale from 0 to 100, the profile with the negative workday comment was rated 11 points lower (56.7) than the one with an ambiguous work day comment (67.9).

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“That’s a meaningful drop. This shows that it takes just one simple comment for people to view you as less professional and to decide they don’t want to become a client of yours,” said Desmarais.

“Depending on who sees your posts, you may really hurt your reputation just by being up late one night, feeling frustrated and posting your thoughts online,” Desmarais added. (IANS)