Facebook overuse lowers self-worth, worsens depression: Study
A Malaysian study found that the excessive use of Facebook is harmful to depressed users, worsening their present and future depression severity. The findings, published in 'Computers in Human Behaviour', further suggest that overuse of Facebook can lower a person’s sense of self-worth.
The findings are in line with past research suggesting that overuse of Facebook can have a detrimental effect on individuals undergoing medical help to overcome depression and related mental health issues.
Findings from the studies like this have given rise to the term ‘Facebook depression,’ which defines depression resulting from the prolonged use of Facebook.
Time spent Vs. Addictive use
The study found that it is not time spent on Facebook in itself that contributes to depression. Instead, addictive use of the platform appears to be most detrimental to an individual's well-being.
Facebook-related dependency, self-criticism represent depression severity
The study indicates that Facebook addiction can predict depression severity through two distinct depressive experiences: dependency and self-criticism.
“We have a growing reliance on technology, as we heavily rely on it to effectively live our lives,” Study author Sun Li Lee, a psychology lecturer at Monash University Malaysia told neuroscience news website Psypost.
"This makes it integral to understand how this reliance affects our well-being, both physically and psychologically. Understanding how it affects those with clinical diagnoses is important as well, as most studies were conducted with healthy young adults."
The study participants were 250 Malaysian Facebook users who had been diagnosed with depression.
Participants with higher addictive use of Facebook reported more salient depressive experiences and more severe depression, according to the study. The relationship between Facebook addiction and depression was mediated by dependency and self-criticism, it added.
“It will be helpful to monitor the use of Facebook for those with clinical depression, as findings suggest such usage will increase the severity of depression,” Lee said.