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Negative social media experiences linked to depression: Study

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Negative social media experiences linked to depression: Study: Negative experiences on social media are more impactful than positive interactions when it comes to the likelihood of young adults reporting depressive symptoms, a new study found.

Negative social media experiences linked to depression: Study

Negative social media experiences linked to depression: Study
Photo: ShadowNet

The finding, published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, may be useful for designing interventions and clinical recommendations to reduce the risk of depression.

“We found that positive experiences on social media were not related or only very slightly linked to lower depressive symptoms.

However, negative experiences were strongly and consistently associated with higher depressive symptoms,” said lead author Brian Primack from the University of Pittsburg in the US.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 1,179 full-time students aged between 18 to 30 about their social media use and experiences.

The participants also completed a questionnaire to assess their depressive symptoms.

The researchers found that each 10 per cent increase in positive experiences on social media was associated with a four per cent decrease in odds of depressive symptoms, but those results were not statistically significant, meaning that the finding could be due to random chance.

However, each 10 per cent increase in negative experiences was associated with a 20 per cent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms, a statistically significant finding, the researcher said.

Other characteristics too were linked to the participants having depressive symptoms.

For example, compared with men, women had 50 per cent higher odds of having depressive symptoms, they added.

The researchers also said that while the findings still need to be replicated, public health practitioners could start using them to educate the public about the risks of negative social media interactions.

“Our findings may encourage people to pay closer attention to their online exchanges.

“Examples of positive experiences are people praising you on social media, liking your pictures and having positive comments,” Primack says.