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Social media and depression

Posted Mar 02, 2024 by Adrian Ebens in General
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Maybe your social media use is part of the problem.

In a paper published in February, researchers found new evidence supporting the link between depression and social media addiction.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Mosul in Iraq, who surveyed 603 university students, asking questions about their social media use, academic performance, sleep, and depression. They found that, ‘there is a significant level of addiction to social media among the students with a high possibility of depression, both related to academic performance and sleep quality.’

The results showed that only a small number of the students (6.3%) used social media for less than an hour a day; the majority (54.1%) used it for 1 to 4 hours a day, while nearly 40% used it for more than 4 hours a day.

According to the authors, ‘this study showed that those participants who spent less than 1h on social media would have the lowest addiction and depression scores. In other words, the longer time the students spend on social media, the higher the possibility that their daily life would be affected.’

The study also showed that depression was higher in students who slept for less than six hours a day and in females, although the authors suggested that lifestyle factors may have played a role in the latter.

Nor surprisingly, social media use was also linked to academic performance. Approximately three quarters of the students (73.5%) said that they would expect to achieve better results if they actually stopped using social media.

It’s not just students who are at risk of social media addiction. According to the authors, ‘Everybody who have [stet] access to internet can suffer from social media addiction without respect to their age, sex or other socio-demographic characteristics.’

The results of the study are in line with previous research which has shown a link between mental health problems, particularly depression, and internet addiction.

Shanshal SA, Al-Qazaz HK, Saadallah DA, Mohammed SY, Saber QAY, Ali MM, Mahmmod WN. Social media addiction and depression and their predictors among university students.Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2024 Feb 19. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2022-0111.