Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health (CRMTH) have found that excessive social media use often correlates with an increased risk of depression or anxiety.
In a survey of nearly 1,800 adults between the ages of 19 and 32, researchers found that participants who used between seven and 11 social media platforms had substantially higher odds of having increased levels of both depression and anxiety symptoms compared to those that used anywhere from zero to two social media platforms.
Such was the case even after adjusting for other factors that could contribute to depression or anxiety such as education, gender, household income, race, relationship status and total time spent on social media.
Pinpointing a key association between social media and the illnesses, however, isn’t all that easy.
Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D., director of CRMTH and lead author on the paper, said it could be that people who suffer from symptoms of depression and / or anxiety and use a broad range of social media outlets may be searching out multiple avenues or a setting that feels comfortable and accepting. Then again, it could simply be that the amount of work required to maintain a presence on so many platforms is the culprit.
The fact that an individual feels compelled to maintain upwards of a dozen non-work related social media accounts seems telling on its own but hey, what do I know?
Ultimately, Primack said more research will be needed to obtain a better understanding of the matter.