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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

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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