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Study Links Social media for depression, loneliness



The University of Pennsylvania researchers say that for the first time they have connected social media to use for increased depression and loneliness.

The idea that social media is anything but social in terms of mental health has been talked about for many years, but not many studies have managed to link the two.

To do that, Penn researchers, led by psychologist Melissa Hunt, conducted a study focused on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

The results were published in the November issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

How did the work study

The study was conducted with 1

43 participants who, before they began, completed a mood survey and sent along with images on their battery screens, showing how often they used their phones to get access to social media.

"We set ourselves to do a much more comprehensive, strict study that was more ecologically valid," Hunt sai d. This term, ecologically valid, means that research tries to imitate reality.

The study shared the participants into two groups: The first group was allowed to maintain its usual social media habits. The other control group was limited to 10 minutes per day on each of the three platforms: Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Restrictions were put in place for three weeks, and then participants participated and were tested for results such as fear of deprivation (FOMO), anxiety, depression and loneliness.

  Chiara Valenzano, on the right, photographs the food when she is having lunch with her friend Giulia Terranova at the restaurant

Chiara Valenzano, right, photographs the food when she is having lunch with her friend Giulia Terranova at "This is not a Sushi bar restaurant in Milan, Italy, October 16, 2018. At the restaurant, payment can be made according to the number of Instagram followers.

Results of the study

The results showed a very clear connection between social media u see and increased levels of depression and loneliness.

"Using less social media than you would normally lead to significant reductions in both depression and loneliness," said Hunt. "These effects are especially pronounced for people who were more depressed when they entered the study. "

She calls her the findings of the" big irony "of social media.

What is social media that is so depressing?

Hunt says there are two major things. The first is thatSocial Media Invites What Hunt Calls "Downward Social Comparison." When you are online, it may sometimes seem like "everyone else is cooler and has more fun and joins several things and you're out," she said. And it's just generally demoralizing.

The other factor is a little more nuanced.

"Time is a zero-sum game," said Hunt to VOA. "Every minute you spend on the web, one moment you do not do your job or do not meet a friend for dinner or have a deep conversation with your roommate."

And these real activities are those that can strengthen self-esteem and

What do you learn?

So what's takeout?

People are on their devices and it will not change, she said. But as in life, some moderation goes a long way.

"In general, I would say, let the phone be down and be with the people in your life," she added.

Hunt pointed out some warnings for the study. First, it was done exclusively with 18- to 22-year-olds, and it is unclear whether the disappointing effects of social media will cross generation lines for older or younger people, Hunt said. But she expects her results to be generalized at least for people through the age of 30 years.

Hunt says she is now starting a study to measure the emotional effect of dating apps.


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