Social media can make it easier for people to engage online, but I don’t offer some of the benefits of real human interactions, says a Michigan State University researcher.
“Problematic social media use has been linked with depression, anxiety and social isolation, and a good social support system helps isolate people with negative mental health,” said Dar Meshi. , Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at MSU. “We wanted to compare the differences between actual support and support provided on social media to see if the support provided on social media could have any beneficial effects.”
The research was published online April 29 in the journal Addictive behaviors.
While support from social media didn’t have a negative impact on mental health, it didn’t affect it positively either.
“Only real social support was linked to better overall mental health,” Meshi said. “Typical interactions on social media are limited. We believe they do not allow for a more substantial connection, which may be necessary to provide the type of support that protects against negative mental health.”
Meshi and Morgan Ellithorpe, assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware and co-author of this article, surveyed 403 college students to identify how problematic their use of social media was and their degree of social support in real life and on social media.
Also using the PROMIS scales, or Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System, to measure depression, anxiety, and social isolation, researchers were able to see how social media use and support social outcomes of the students were linked to their mental health.
Problematic social media use is not a recognized addictive disorder, but there are similarities between the symptoms of a person with a substance use disorder and a person with excessive media use. social. Examples include concern for social media and signs of withdrawal, such as irritability, when they cannot use social media.
“It seems that the more excessive the use of social media, the less social support it receives in real life, which leads to poor mental health,” Ellithorpe said.
Meshi and Ellithorpe encourage people who use social media too much to reach out to people in real life for social support.
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Material provided by University of Michigan. Original written by Emilie Lorditch. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.