The effects of screen time and social media on depressed feelings and suicidal thoughts among undergraduates
Keywords:Mental Health, Undergraduate, Screen time, Suicide, Depression, Social media
Beginning around 2011, there have been increases in mental health issues among teens and young adults. A possible reason for this rise has been the growth of social media through electronic communication; therefore, this study examined social media usage and suicide among undergraduates. An online survey was developed and after Institutional Review Board approval, was completed by 506 undergraduates (67.9% female, 32.1% male) at 23 southeastern and midwestern higher education institutions. Among these undergraduates, it was found that 24% thought about suicide in the past year and 4.2% had actually attempted to kill themselves. Those who considered killing themselves in the past year were significantly more likely to feel the need to compare themselves to others when browsing social media (p<.0001), felt their life was worse than others based on what they saw on social media (p<.0001), and had feelings of sadness or suicidal thoughts after browsing social media (p<.0001) compared to those who had not thought of suicide. Undergraduates who had attempted suicide in the past year were more likely to feel their self-image was negatively affected by interaction with social media websites (p<.05) and also had feelings of sadness or suicidal thoughts after browsing social media (p<.05) compared to those who had not attempted suicide. Females were more likely than males to report negative effects of browsing social media (p<.001). These significant associations between suicidal thoughts and social media usage should be studied further to better devise health education and advocacy campaigns among this population.
References or Bibliography
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Methodological summary and definitions. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, April 9). National center for health statistics: Stats of the state of South Carolina. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/southcarolina/southcarolina.htm
Centers for Disease Control (2012). South Carolina Profile 2012: BRFFS 2011 Survey Results for Mental Distress by Gender. Retrieved from https://www.acl.gov/sites/default/files/programs/2016-11/South Caroline Epi Profile Final.pdf
Eaton WW, Muntaner C, Smith C, Tien A, Ybarra M. Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: Review and revision (CESD and CESD-R). In: Maruish ME, ed. The Use of Psychological Testing for Treatment Planning and Outcomes Assessment. 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; 2004:363-377.
Gregory, C. (2020, March 2). Suicide and suicide prevention: Understanding the risk factors, prevention and what we can do to help. Psychom. https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.suicide.html
Gupta, A., Khan, A.M., Rajoura, O.P. & Srivastava, S. (2018). Internet addiction and its mental health correlates among undergraduate college students. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 7(4). 721-727. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_266_17
Ilakkuvan, V., Johnson, A., Villanti, A.C., Evans, W.D. & Turner, M. (2018). Patterns of social media use and their relationship to health risks among young adults. Journal of Adolescent Health 64(2), 158-164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.06.025
Internet World Stats. (2018). United States internet usage and 2018 population state by state. Retrieved from https://www.internetworldstats.com/unitedstates.htm
Kettle, P., Gilmartin, N., Corcoran, M. P., Byrne, D., & Sun, T. H. (2016, December). Time Well Spent? A survey of student online media usage. Retrieved from https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEY FINALV_1.pdf
National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, February). Major depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml
National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, April). Suicide. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml
Osman, A., Bagge, C.L., Guitierrez, P.M., Konick, L.C., Kooper, B.A. & Barrios, F.X. (2001). The Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R): Validation with clinical and nonclinical samples. Assessment.
Perrin, A. (2015, October 8). Social media usage: 2005-2015. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/
Rey-López JP, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB, et al. Reliability and validity of a screen time-based sedentary behaviour questionnaire for adolescents: The HELENA study. European Journal of Public Health. 2012 Jun;22(3):373-377. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr040.
Simón, L., Aibar, A., García-González, L., Abós, A., & Sevil, J. (2019). “Hyperconnected” adolescents: Sedentary screen time according to gender and type of day. European Journal of Human Movement, 43, 49-66.
Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2018, March 1). Social media use in 2018. Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa6_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.html
South Australia Government. (2007). National Australian children’s nutrition and physical activity survey. South Australian Findings. https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/8F4516D5FAC0700ACA257BF0001E0109/$File/childrens-nut-phys-survey.pdf
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 national survey on drug use and health. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm
Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3–17. doi:10.1177/2167702617723376
The impact of social media: Is it irreplaceable? (2019, July 26). Knowledge at Wharton. Retrieved April 10, 2020, from https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/impact-of-social-media/
United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Depression. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/depression
Zhang, Y., Lei, Y., Song, Y., Lu, R., Duan, J., & Prochaska, J.J. (2019). Gender differences in suicidal ideation and health-risk behaviors among high school students in Beijing, China. Journal of Global Health, 9(1). doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.010604
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Jeremy Evans, Kassidy Smith, Hailey Wimmenauer; Dr. Sharon Thompson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The copyright holder for this article has granted JSR a license to display the article in perpetuity.