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Facebook Doesn’t Lead to Depression

Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 12:11 PM




Contrary to what many people believe, frequent Facebook users aren’t more likely to suffer clinical depression than other young people who spend less time on social-media networks.
A new University of Wisconsin study of college students conclusively refutes such links and suggests that it may be unnecessarily alarming to advise patients and parents on the risk of "Facebook Depression" based solely on the amount of Internet use.
The results, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, come in the wake of a widely published 2011 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics that suggested that exposure to Facebook could lead to depression in children.
For the new study, researchers led by Lauren Jelenchick and Dr. Megan Moreno surveyed 190 University of Wisconsin-Madison students between the ages of 18 and 23, assessed their Internet activity and screened them for depression.
They found the students were typically on Facebook for more than half of the total time they spent online, but identified no significant associations between social-media use and the probability of depression.
"Our study is the first to present scientific evidence on the suggested link between social-media use and risk of depression," said Jelenchick, who has a master's degree in public health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "The findings have important implications for clinicians who may prematurely alarm parents about social-media use and depression risks."
Moreno, a pediatrician and expert in social-media use among children and adolescents, suggested parents consider their children's online activities in context. Parents don't have to be overly concerned if their child's behavior and mood haven't changed, they have friends and their school work is consistent, she said.
"While the amount of time on Facebook is not associated with depression, we encourage parents to be active role models and teachers on safe and balanced media use for their children," said Moreno.
More than 70 percent of adolescents use social media sites, most commonly Facebook.

© HealthDay

 
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Frequent Facebook users aren’t more likely to suffer depression than others who spend less time online.
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Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 12:11 PM
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