Tuesday, July 23 2024

Social networks and depression: an increase in unhappiness for young Americans

Recent research by the University of Pittsburgh on the use of social networks by young Americans between 19 and 32 years old, gave scientific support to what until now has always been suspected. Excessive use of social networks can be addictive and cause depression and malaise.

These are the conclusions reached by researchers of the School of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh, with their work Association Between Depression And Social Media Use Among US Young Adults, with the results published recently in the US scientific journal Depression and Anxiety.

The conclusions of this research are clear:

•There is a strong link between intensive use of social media by American youth and an increase in depression in the United States;

Social networks have become now so “subcutaneous” in the lives of young Americans that they are having a negative psychological impact;

Social media can be genuinely addictive, similar to that of alcohol or drugs, and it is predicted that by 2030 it will be the leading cause of disability in high-income countries.

This research is certainly not the first on the risks and the possible negative effects of social networks. But contrary to all other studies that preceded it, has the merit of not being extended to only one platform, as did all the others, but all major platforms: Facebook, YouTube, GooglePlus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit , Tumblr, Pinterest, Linkedin and Vine on a representative sample of 1,787 young Americans between 19 and 32 years.


Social networks and their impact on our daily lives 

According to this study, the impact that social networks have on our daily social life is very strong, not only among children and adolescents, but also among adults. Today, social media has become an integral part of the life of an adult, which often becomes so obsessed to be driven into a real pathological spiral, with strong repercussions on everyday life. Here are some facts that the study highlights:

•The happy and extremely idealized representations of their private life on social networks (such as putting your holiday photos), arouse strong feelings of envy and a distorted view of reality, which suggest that the lives of others are always happier and more successful than ones own;

•Spending their time on activities of little importance on social media (such as playing Candy Crush) feeds the feeling that we’re wasting time, which negatively affects our mood during the day;

•passing more time than is appropriate on social networks increases the risk of exposure to negative phenomena such as cyber-bullying, grooming and other such negative interactions, which can cause anxiety and depression.

The research hopes, as do we, that the medical field starts to research and recognize scientifically what is the right level of use of social network so as to effectively encourage positive and balanced use of these instruments, to avoid harmful addictions and negative psychological states.


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