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New study shows how social media use reflects major depressive disorder

A new study published this week in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research looked at whether there are specific activities on social media that are related to major depressive disorder in millennials. (Getty Images/bigtunaonline)

(NEW YORK) — It’s no secret that many millennials live on social media throughout the day. Although more attention is being paid to the impact of its use on mental health, there’s still a lot that’s unknown.

A new study published this week in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research looked at whether there are specific activities on social media that are related to major depressive disorder (MDD) in millennials.

MDD is a clinical diagnosis of a mood disorder that includes prolonged symptoms of sadness, hopelessness, anger or irritability and is usually diagnosed by a health care provider.

3 social media behaviors that may be related to depression

Social media users who met the criteria for major depressive disorder were more likely to compare themselves to others that they believed were better off than themselves.

They were also more likely to report being bothered if they were tagged in an unflattering picture.

In addition, their pictures were less likely to include friends or family.

More engaged, less likely to suffer from depression

Individuals who put up pictures with other people were less likely to meet the criteria for major depressive disorder. So were those who followed more than 300 people on Twitter.

The study also found that individuals with major depressive disorder had significantly fewer followers on Instagram.

Your reasons for being on social media matter

More individuals with major depressive disorder said they use social media to share memes or GIFs. They also were more likely to use it because someone reached out to them on social media instead of proactively checking in.

And so does your attitude toward posting

Those with major depressive disorder were more likely to avoid posting out of fear of judgment. They were also more likely to report “feeling noticed” on Snapchat when their story was viewed.
Marijuana use may affect if you click the share button

While there were no differences between the two groups when it came to whether they post when under the influence of alcohol, the individuals with major depressive disorder were more likely to post when using marijuana.

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