In young adults, negative social media experiences may be strongly and consistently associated with higher depressive symptoms. But, positive experiences seem to have a weak link to lower depressive symptoms, according to research led by the University of Pittsburgh.
The study titled “The association between valence of social media experiences and depressive symptoms” was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety on June 6.
1,179 full-time students at the University of West Virginia were surveyed by the research team in August 2016. The students, aged 18 to 30, were asked about their social media use and experiences. A questionnaire was used to assess their depressive symptoms.
In quantified terms, every 10 percent increase in positive social media experiences was associated with a 4 percent decrease in odds of depressive symptoms. However, it could be chalked up to random chance as the finding was not considered statistically significant. This was unlike the next finding that every 10 percent increase in negative social media experiences was associated with a significant 20 percent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms.
“It is valuable to know that positive and negative experiences are very differently related to depression,” said lead author Dr. Brian Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the university. “But we don’t know from our study whether the negative social media interactions actually caused the depressive symptoms or whether depressed individuals are more likely to seek out negative online interactions.”
– Medical Daily Staff
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