A new study has revealed that having multiple social media accounts may indicate a higher chance of suffering from depression and anxiety than those with just a few.
According to the research conducted by the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh, social media users who have active accounts on seven to 11 platforms are 3.1 times more likely to suffer from the disorders than those who choose to have two or less.
For those who have been using the most platforms among their peers, the risk of having anxiety symptoms are even higher at 3.3 times, Science Daily
Dr. Brian A. Primack, assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences and the research group’s lead author, stated that the findings have found a very strong connection between the number of social media accounts and a patient’s risks for depression and anxiety.
In the study, the researchers sampled 1,787 American adults aged 19 to 32 years old in a survey conducted back in 2014.
Participants were asked to answer questions relating to the 11 social media platforms which were popular in that year: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn.
According to the researchers, possible reasons for the higher levels of depression and anxiety among heavy social media users included:
- The habit of multitasking while switching between platforms.
- Unwritten rules in social medias.
- The opportunity to commit social media faux pas.
Another possibility which has not been ruled out by the research group is that the depressed or anxious people themselves are those who deliberately seek out multiple social media platforms for the feeling of comfort and acceptance each network brings them.
“It may be that people who suffer from symptoms of depression or anxiety, or both, tend to subsequently use a broader range of social media outlets. For example, they may be searching out multiple avenues for a setting that feels comfortable and accepting,” said Primack.
“However, it could also be that trying to maintain a presence on multiple platforms may actually lead to depression and anxiety. More research will be needed to tease that apart,” he added.