Research shows that social media use is a significant contributor to the development of depression. A study published on 10th December in the online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also reiterated this claim.
Even if a person grabs their phone for a single minute, there is a good chance that they have checked social media. It is trivial to catch up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat that it has become second nature to some to reach for their phone now and then.
About 77% of all the United States people have a social media profile of some kind. It means you will hardly meet someone who doesn’t have at least one social media profile.
Brain A. Primack is an MD, Ph.D., from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He and his colleagues were on the research team that studied social media’s effects on the human brain. They evaluated the connection between social media use and depression among 990 participants aged 18-30 years, mostly representative of the general U.S. population.
The researchers discovered that about 9.6% of the participants developed depression during the six-month study period. In adjusted analysis, researchers find a significant linear association between baseline social media use and the development of depression for every level of social media use.
Participants with the highest baseline social media use had significantly increased chances of developing depression than those with the lowest baseline social media use.
Many people ask the question, “Does social media causes depression?” If we look at the available research, it is pretty clear that, yes, it does contribute to the development of depression.
Social media makes a person think about their position in the social hierarchy. When you log on to any social platform, you get a curated feed of content that makes people ask questions like “how am I stacking up?” or “how is my compared to others?” This feeling that people get from social media is the primary reason for its association with mental health issues, particularly depression.
The continual upward social comparisons can occur hundreds of times per day, depending on how frequently they check their social media feeds. There is also the fear of mission out or FOMO that doesn’t let a person stay away from social media.
Social comparison and fear of missing out are the primary factors that lead to depression when a person excessively uses social media.