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University of Pittsburgh: Research Shows Too Much Social Media Causes Depression

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A University of Pittsburgh Research Shows Too Much Social Media Causes Depression
Researchers found that it's not just the amount of time you spend on social media which can cause depression but also the amount of social networking sites you visit as well
(Photo : Carl Court/Getty Images)

If you're using more than two kinds of social media platform, you might consider curbing down the number of networking sites you're using. A new research has revealed that it's not just about the quantity of time you spend on social media that can harm you but the amount of social media sites you have or visit that can affect your mental health.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, have fund out that those who have been using between 7 to 11 social media platforms are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. These sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, Google Plus, YouTube, and more.

For the study, the scientists sampled more than 1,700 people between the age of 19 and 32 using a depression assessment questionnaire as well as some questions on social media. Some of the factors they included in the test include the amount of time each person spend on social media, their gender, age, race, income, and relationship status.

Dr. Brian Primack, the lead author of the study, said that there are several factors why social media use can contribute or aggravate the symptoms of depression. One of those reasons, he said, is multitasking which is harmful to cognitive health.

Going from one social media app to another lets the brain multitask, which impairs a person's mental functioning. Furthermore, it adds to the confusion and negative emotions because each of these social media sites have their own set of rules. Dr. Primack also added that too much social media use leaves a person more exposed to the public and more exposure means a higher potential for embarrassment.

Despite their findings, Dr. Primack was cautious about the study saying it could mean two different ways - social media cause depression or depressed people use social media more.

His co-author, César G. Escobar-Viera, a psychiatrist, said that their ultimate goal for the study is to be able to create and implement 'educational public health interventions.'

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