Does Facebook use lead to depression? No, says Wisconsin study

A study of university students is the first evidence to refute the supposed link between depression and the amount of time spent on Facebook and other social media sites, ScienceBlog reports. The study, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, suggests that it might be unnecessarily alarming to advise patients and parents on the risk of “Facebook depression” based solely on the amount of internet use. The results were published online July 10 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on the effects of social media on children and adolescents. The report suggested that exposure to Facebook could lead to depression. UW researchers, led by Lauren Jelenchick and Dr. Megan Moreno, surveyed 190 UW-Madison students between the ages of 18 and 23, using a real-time assessment of internet activity and a validated, clinical screening method for depression. The study found that the survey participants were on Facebook for over half of their total time online. When Jelenchick and Moreno evaluated the data, including the depression-screening results, they found no significant associations between social media use and the probability of depression.

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