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“Facebook Depression?” Social Networking Site Use and Depression in Older Adolescents

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To evaluate the association between social networking site (SNS) use and depression in older adolescents using an experience sample method (ESM) approach.

      Methods

      Older adolescent university students completed an online survey containing the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 depression screen (PHQ) and a weeklong ESM data collection period to assess SNS use.

      Results

      Participants (N = 190) included in the study were 58% female and 91% Caucasian. The mean age was 18.9 years (standard deviation = .8). Most used SNSs for either <30 minutes (n = 100, 53%) or between 30 minutes and 2 hours (n = 74, 39%); a minority of participants reported daily use of SNS >2 hours (n = 16, 8%). The mean PHQ score was 5.4 (standard deviation = 4.2). No associations were seen between SNS use and either any depression (p = .519) or moderate to severe depression (p = .470).

      Conclusions

      We did not find evidence supporting a relationship between SNS use and clinical depression. Counseling patients or parents regarding the risk of “Facebook Depression” may be premature.

      Keywords

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