Users of multiple social networks 'more likely to be depressed'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Millennials who make use of multiple social media platforms are more likely to be anxious or depressed, according to a new study.

The University of Pittsburgh research indicated that use of multiple platforms is a more reliable predictor for poor mental health than measuring the total time spent on social media.

“Young people who use multiple social networks are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to a new study.“

People who reported using seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than those using between zero to two, even after adjusting for the amount of time spent on social media overall.

It was theorised that this could be because multitasking is often seen to be related to poor cognitive and mental health outcomes, while the distinct unwritten rules, cultural assumptions and idiosyncrasies of each platform become increasingly difficult to navigate when the number of platforms in use increases.

Being more active on numerous platforms also leads to more opportunity to commit a social media faux pas, leading to repeated embarrassment and subsequent poor mood.

Study leader Dr Brian Primack, director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, said: "While we can't tell from this study whether depressed and anxious people seek out multiple platforms or whether something about using multiple platforms can lead to depression and anxiety, in either case the results are potentially valuable."

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