- Social media use among adolescents is tied to increased risk for depressive symptoms, especially among girls.
- Analysis from UK’s Millennium Cohort Study finds factors such as self-esteem and online harassment mediate the link.
Why this matters
- Study points to the need to manage social media use among adolescents and address issues of sleep loss and online harassment.
- Girls on average had more symptoms of depression than boys (score 4.6 vs 2.5).
- Stronger association of social media use and depression symptoms in girls vs boys (P<.001>
- Vs 1-3 hours of exposure each day, depression symptom scores increased by:
- 26% for girls and 21% for boys with 3 to
- 50% for girls vs 35% for boys with ≥5 hours.
- Factors accounting for the associations and sex bias included issues with body weight, low self-esteem, sleep disruption, online harassment (victim or perpetrator).
- Adolescents were likelier to have ≥5 hours of social media use if they lived in lower income or 1-parent homes.
- Data for 10,904 children age 14.3 (standard deviation, 0.34) years, from Millennium Cohort Study.
- Funding: UK Economic and Social Research Council.
- Time of day for social media use not known.