Social media use linked to adolescent depression, especially in girls

  • EClinicalMedicine

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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.

Study design

  • Data for 10,904 children age 14.3 (standard deviation, 0.34) years, from Millennium Cohort Study.
  • Funding: UK Economic and Social Research Council. 

Limitations

  • Time of day for social media use not known.

Please confirm your acceptance

To gain full access to GPnotebook please confirm:

By submitting here you confirm that you have accepted Terms of Use and Privacy Policy of GPnotebook.

Submit