In a new study, researchers found that social media use is linked to the development of depression.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Depression is highly prevalent in the U.S., and its incidence is increasing.
Although multiple factors contribute to depression, there is growing interest in the association between social media use and psychological well-being.
Social media use involving sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit has become an integral method by which individuals connect with others, share personal content, and obtain news and entertainment.
More than 90% of U.S. young adults use social media, on average from 2 to 4 hours per day.
In the study, the team evaluated the links between social media use and depression among 990 participants (aged 18 to 30 years), representative of the U.S. population.
The researchers found that 9.6% of participants developed depression during six months of follow-up.
In another analysis, there was a strong association between social media use and the development of depression.
People in the highest quartile of social media use had strongly increased risks of developing depression compared with those in the lowest quartile.
The results suggest strong associations between social media use and depression.
The degree of the association found between social media use and subsequent depression is noteworthy.
The team says a 3-fold increase in the odds of developing depression is extremely high. This is especially true considering that the outcome was the development of depression in a relatively brief period.
The study suggests that practitioners working with patients who are depressed should recognize social media use as a potentially important risk factor for the development and possible worsening of depression.
One author of the study is Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D.
The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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