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Teens' Social Media Use Does Not Predict Later Depression

THURSDAY, Feb. 28, 2019 -- Social media use does not predict later depressive symptoms among adolescents or college undergraduates, according to a study recently published in Clinical Psychological Science.

Taylor Heffer, from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues studied associations between social media use and depressive symptoms over time among 594 adolescents (mean age, 12.21 years), who were surveyed annually for two years, and 1,132 undergraduate students (mean age, 19.06 years), who were surveyed annually for six years.

The researchers found that among both samples, social media use did not predict depressive symptoms over time for either boys or girls. However, among adolescent girls, greater depressive symptoms predicted more frequent social media use.

"There may be different groups of people who use social media for different reasons," Heffer said in a statement. "For example, there may be a group of people who use social media to make social comparisons or turn to it when they are feeling down, while another group of people may use it for more positive reasons, such as keeping in contact with friends."

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Posted: February 2019

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