Study Suggests Facebook May Cause Depression
Facebook has become a regular part of millions of people’s lives. For many, it is part of their daily routines. People check news feeds and update their statuses regularly. However, one study is suggesting that doing this may be causing some users to feel depressed. This study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
During this study, researchers analyzed data collected from 82 young and regular Facebook users. The goal of the study was to see how the participants felt after using Facebook. The researchers at the University of Michigan used what they called an "experience sampling" technique to measure what the participants were thinking and feeling. During the study, the participants were sent various text messages that asked them questions about how they were feeling and how they felt after using Facebook. What the researchers found was that as the participants used Facebook more, their personal feelings of well-being declined.
"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection," Ethan Kross, social psychologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, says. "But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result — it undermines it."
"This is the advantage of studying Facebook use and well-being as dynamic processes that unfold over time," says Phillipe Verduyn, post-doctoral fellow of the research foundation Flanders in Belgium, and co-author of the study. "It allows us to draw inferences about the likely causal sequence of Facebook use and well-being."
Previous studies also have shown that many people feel worse after using Facebook because they often compare their own life experiences to those whose pages they observe. More studies will likely have to be conducted to confirm a direct link between depression and social media. Depression is often treated (both during pregnancy and post-natal) with antidepressant drugs like Paxil, which could be more harmful than good. Drugs like Paxil are linked to increased episodes of violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as birth defects in babies born to mothers who take Paxil while pregnant. Some of the birth defects linked to Paxil use include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and heart, lung and brain defects. These complications are why doctors are constantly looking for non-medicinal ways to help treat depression in women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.