Facebook and Depression

Do you feel like you use Facebook too much? 
Speak to Terrace Wellness Group about our free mental health check-ups! 

Growing interest on the effects or implication of social media platforms is trending in recent research. The idea that social media services such as Facebook are related to mental health is a fairly new concept in science. This being said, growing evidence on the relationship between heavy Facebook use and depression is occurring. Although research has suggested that reaching out to a friend online may have positive effects to an individual’s mental health, new research examining frequency of posting on Facebook and the presence of depressive symptoms has been published this year in the journal of Medical Internet Research.

This correlational research does not have the strength to establish a cause and effect relationship between posting excessive content on Facebook and depression. Neither can it tell us which comes first, the depression or the extensive Facebook use. What this study allows is the possibility of predicting depression in individuals based on their Facebook use, due to the co-variability between depressive symptoms and Facebook usage. In this massive study, the Electronic Medical Records of 695 patients was correlated to their Facebook usage.

Although they found no relation between patients with physical symptoms such as hypertension, diabetes, headaches, back pain, anemia, or cancer and their Facebook usage, the researchers found a strong link between Facebook usage and the presence of depression or having a history of depression.

The importance of this research lies in what it is suggesting. Perhaps social media posting is a way that our brain communicates with us and not just others. Of further note, research is examining the potential of using online screening tools to identify and help improve the mental health of heavy social media users, this will potentially yield new tools to reduce depression in the Canadian population.

Do you feel like you use Facebook too much?

Speak to Terrace Wellness Group about our mental health check up!

References

  • Smith, R., Crutchley, P., Schwartz, H., Ungar, L., Shofer, F., Padrez, K., & Merchant, R. (2017). Variations in facebook posting patterns across validated patient health conditions: A prospective cohort study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(1), 36-46. doi:10.2196/jmir.6486

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