Young adults who use social media are much more likely to develop depression within six months, regardless of what their personality is. This is highlighted in a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. “Previous research has linked the development of depression to numerous factors”, the authors noted.
“However, the literature is lacking in studies focusing on how various personality characteristics may interact with social media use and depression”. The sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18-30 came from 2018 data. Personality was measured using the Big Five Inventory, which assessed openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Regardless of personality, social media use was strongly associated with the development of depression. Problematic social comparison can increase negative feelings about oneself and others, which might explain how the risk of depression increases with increased social use. But it’s also true, the authors point out, that engaging more in social media reduces opportunities for in-person interactions and activities outside the home.
“The results are important in a time of technological expansion”, said Renae Merrill, a researcher at the University of Arkansas. “Connecting virtually with people can increase the risk of communication or misperception problems leading to relationship difficulties and the potential risk of mental health problems.”