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Study Finds The Link Between Number Of Social Media Platforms Used And The Chance Of Depression. Results Are Stunning

Study Finds The Link Between Number Of Social Media Platforms Used And The Chance Of Depression. Results Are Stunning

The dark side of social media?

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can definitely be used for the power of good. They allow us to keep in touch with friends, keep up with current affairs, grow our professional networks, and have fun. Unfortunately, research suggests that using multiple social networks carries with it an elevated risk of depression and anxiety. Recent findings show that young adults should think carefully about their social media use, not just in terms of how many hours per day they spend online, but also how many platforms they incorporate into their digital life.

The research

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health (CRMTH) released a report in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior[1] outlining some intriguing links between social media use and mental health. The objective of the study was to establish whether the number of platforms a person uses has an effect on their mental health, independent of the total amount of time they spend online in a typical day.

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The study protocol was simple. Questionnaires measuring symptoms of anxiety and depression were administered to 1,787 adults between the ages of 19 and 32. The participants were also asked to report their social media habits including the frequency with which they used various social media platforms and how many profiles they maintained across 11 of the most popular social media sites.

The results

Compared to participants who used between zero and two social media sites, those who used between seven and eleven were three times more likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety. This finding persisted even when the researchers took into account other variables known to affect anxiety and depression such as total time spent on social media, gender, and relationship status.

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What does this mean for social media users?

At the moment, we cannot know for certain why people who use more social media platforms appear to have a higher risk of mental distress. Brian A. Primack, leader of this study, has cautioned that there could be multiple reasons for this apparent link.[2]

One reason is that multi-tasking increases the risk of cognitive dysfunction and poor mental health, and those who use multiple platforms at the same time may be falling victim to this effect. Although multi-tasking may appear to be an efficient means of working, the end result is that multi-taskers suffer a drop in productivity and overall wellbeing.

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Another possible explanation is that because every platform has a distinct set of rules and unwritten code of conduct, attempting to maintain an appropriate presence on each could result in stress and negative emotions. A post that is entirely appropriate for one type of platform may not be so well-received on another, and it may be hard to adjust one’s persona to suit every site.

Finally, the more social media platforms an individual uses, the more vulnerable they are to committing social sins and getting into confrontations with others. This could lead to problems in close relationships, which may in turn cause stress and anxiety.

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However, more research is needed to explain this association. In the meantime, findings like this are important proof that our online activities have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. With social media use more common than ever before, keeping our internet use within sensible parameters is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you find that maintaining several profiles is causing you to feel stressed or depressed, why not try cutting back on the number of social media platforms you use? Taking the decision to focus only on one or two sites may be a smart move as far as your mental health is concerned.

Reference

More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 5, 2021

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

I talk a lot to myself. It helps me to keep my concentration on the activity on hand, makes me focus more on my studies, and gives me some pretty brilliant ideas while chattering to myself; more importantly, I produce better works. For example, right now, as I am typing, I am constantly mumbling to myself. Do you talk to yourself? Don’t get embarrassed admitting it because science has discovered that those who talk to themselves are actually geniuses… and not crazy!

Research Background

Psychologist-researcher Gary Lupyan conducted an experiment where 20 volunteers were shown objects, in a supermarket, and were asked to remember them. Half of them were told to repeat the objects, for example, banana, and the other half remained silent. In the end, the result shown that self-directed speech aided people to find the objects faster, by 50 to 100 milliseconds, compared to the silent ones.

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“I’ll often mutter to myself when searching for something in the refrigerator or the supermarket shelves,” said Gary Lupyan.

This personal experience actually made him conduct this experiment. Lupyan, together with another psychologist, Daniel Swigley, came up with the outcomes that those to talk to oneself are geniuses. Here are the reasons:

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It stimulates your memory

When you are talking to yourself, your sensory mechanism gets activated. It gets easier on your memory since you can visualize the word, and you can act accordingly.[1]

It helps stay focused

When you are saying it loud, you stay focused on your task,[2] and it helps you recognise that stuff immediately. Of course, this only helps if you know what the object you are searching looks like. For example, a banana is yellow in colour, and you know how a banana looks like. So when you are saying it loud, your brain immediately pictures the image on your mind. But if you don’t know what banana looks like, then there is no effect of saying it loud.

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It helps you clarify your thoughts

Every one of us tends to have various types of thoughts. Most make sense, while the others don’t. Suppose you are furious at someone and you feel like killing that person. Now for this issue you won’t run to a therapist, will you? No, what you do is lock yourself in a room and mutter to yourself. You are letting go off the anger by talking to yourself, the pros and cons of killing that person, and eventually you calm down. This is a silly thought that you have and are unable to share it with any other person. Psychologist Linda Sapadin said,[3]

“It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”

Featured photo credit: Girl Using Laptop In Hotel Room/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

Reference

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