October 18, 2019
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People with depression more likely to develop Facebook addiction

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People with depression who use Facebook as a coping mechanism are at an increased risk for developing Facebook Addiction Disorder, or FAD, which may reinforce depression symptoms, according to findings published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

In the therapeutic context, it is important to control the daily usage time of Facebook, particularly when working with individuals with enhanced levels of depression,” Julia Brailovskaia, PhD, of the department of psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum’s Mental Health Research and Treatment Center in Germany, told Healio Psychiatry. “Furthermore, it is important that depressed people learn alternative strategies to cope with daily stress because Facebook use may negatively impact their subjective well-being."

According to the researchers, previous studies on FAD focused on young students, and this limited the generalization of the findings. The researchers included a sample of 531 young students from Germany and an older sample of 909 mostly employed individuals from the United States to increase the heterogeneity of the populations. Participants completed surveys that measured daily stress levels, depression symptoms and propensity for FAD.

The researchers reported that FAD, daily stress and depression symptoms were significantly positively interrelated (all, P < .01). Further, people with low, medium and high levels of depression symptoms all exhibited a positive link between daily stress and FAD, with a “remarkably higher” association among individuals with high levels.

The same result pattern emerged in the German and American sample groups.

We need more cross-cultural, longitudinal, experimental research to understand the development and maintenance of Facebook Addiction Disorder,” Brailovskaia said. – by Joe Gramigna

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.