Modern meeting with laptops
Horizontal view of modern meeting with laptops

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s research shows the more young adults spend on line with social media, the more likely they are to suffer from depression. Maybe it’s that “everyone else seems to have all those friends and do really interesting things and all I do is sit here and look at Facebook” syndrome that we’ve all experienced.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, so it’s not to be taken lightly.

“Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use. ” — Brian Primack, Director, Center for Research on Media, Technology and

The survey include more than 1,700 young adults. For this study, that group was defined as adults between 19 and 32 years of age using social media on these platforms

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • You Tube
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • LinkeIn
  • Vine
  • Pinterest

Both those who spent a lot of time with social media, and those that checked in on social media frequently, showed the effects. More than 25% of those in the group showed high indicators of depression. Those who checked their social media accounts most frequently had 2.7 times the likelihood of depression of those that didn’t.

Lead author Lui yi Lin, B.A., who will be graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine this spring, emphasized that, because this was a cross-sectional study, it does not disentangle cause and effect.

“It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void,” — Researcher Lui yi Lin

Lin cites that feeling that all your friends are having a great life and yours, well, maybe no so much. It can create feelings of envy. Other contributing factors can be a feeling of wasting time which can negatively impact your moods, and fueling an “internet addiction.”

A recent study by Carnegie Mellon says that more than a third of Facebook posts express sad or negative feelings and that brought even more attention than other posts. Negative emotions got, om average, about twice the comments. Facebook users also received more private messages after sharing negative feelings. Maybe just people checking to make sure you’re OK?

“Teens tended to be more negative. That’s consistent with what we know about teens and cognitive development.” — Moira Burke, Carnegie Mellon