New York, Nov. 26 (IANS): Using social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook or TikTok, is likely associated with a greater chance of a subsequent increase in depressive symptoms, a new study finds.
The researchers, including Roy H. Perlis of Harvard Medical School, Boston, found that in modified regression models using Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok in the first study, it was significantly associated with a greater risk of increase in self-reported depressive symptoms.
“In this survey study, 5,395 individuals with minimal depressive symptoms in the first survey who reported using Snapchat, Facebook or TikTok were more likely to report increased levels of depressive symptoms in a later survey,” the researchers said.
“These results suggest that certain social media use preceded worsening depressive symptoms,” she added.
For the study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the team included data from 13 waves of a non-probable Internet survey conducted approximately monthly among individuals 18 years of age and older in the US between May 2020 and May 2021.
The data was analyzed in July and August 2021.
Logistic regression was applied without reweighting, with an increase of 5 points or more in the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) score with 9 items as outcome and sociodemographic characteristics of the participants, baseline PHQ-9 and use of each social media platform as independent variables.
They were asked, “Do you ever use any of the following social media sites or apps?” such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.
They were asked to identify all sources of Covid-19-related news they consumed in the past 24 hours, using them as a proxy for news sources in general, while examining web-based versus television-based news separately; various social supports available “to talk to if you had a problem, were feeling sad or depressed”; and face-to-face meetings with non-household members in the preceding 24 hours.
Among respondents who initially reported no depressive symptoms, social media use was associated with a greater likelihood of a subsequent increase in depressive symptoms after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and news sources, the team said.