Facebook use leads to depression? No, says Wisconsin study

July 9, 2012

MADISON- A study of university students is the first evidence to refute the supposed link between depression and the amount of time spent on Facebook and other social-media sites.

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public suggests that it may be unnecessarily alarming to advise patients and parents on the risk of "Facebook Depression" based solely on the amount of . The results are published online today in the .

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on the effects of social media on children and adolescents. The report suggested that exposure to Facebook could lead to depression. Researchers led by Lauren Jelenchick and Dr. Megan Moreno surveyed 190 University of Wisconsin-Madison students between the ages of 18 and 23, using a real-time assessment of and a validated, clinical for depression.

The students were surveyed with 43 text-message questionnaires at random intervals over a seven-day period between February and December of 2011. The students were asked if they were currently online, how many minutes they had been online and what they were doing on the Internet.

The study found that the survey participants were on Facebook for over half of the total time online. When Jelenchick and Moreno evaluated the data including the depression-screening results, they found 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 just received 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 who has been widely published in the area of social-media use among children and adolescents, advises parents to look at their children's social-media use in the context of their entire lives. She says 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.

"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.

According to recent studies, more than 70 percent of adolescents use social media sites, most commonly .

Explore further: Studies examine impact of media use among youth, recommend preventative measures

Related Stories

Studies examine impact of media use among youth, recommend preventative measures

June 27, 2011
In today's society where access to media is ever present, many parents worry about what is appropriate media usage for their children and how media consumption can potentially affect them. Two new studies led by Dr. Dimitri ...

Social networking's good and bad impacts on kids

August 7, 2011
WASHINGTON – Social media present risks and benefits to children but parents who try to secretly monitor their kids' activities online are wasting their time, according to a presentation at the 119th Annual Convention ...

Recommended for you

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

Before assigning responsibility, our minds simulate alternative outcomes, study shows

October 17, 2017
How do people assign a cause to events they witness? Some philosophers have suggested that people determine responsibility for a particular outcome by imagining what would have happened if a suspected cause had not intervened.

Schizophrenia disrupts the brain's entire communication system, researchers say

October 17, 2017
Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain's entire communication system.

For older adults, volunteering could improve brain function

October 17, 2017
Older adults worried about losing their cognitive functions could consider volunteering as a potential boost, according to a University of Missouri researcher. While volunteering and its associations with physical health ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.