Chicken or the Egg: Link Made Between Depression and Social Media

Have you ever wondered how some members of your online community (or any community for that matter) can get so overwhelmingly caught up in online drama with people they hardly know?  I know I have. Well, there could be a real, clinical reason behind it, according to a new study, that goes beyond them needing to “get a life.”

Psychologists from Leeds University say they’ve found “striking” evidence that some avid internet users develop compulsive  habits in which they replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites.

The lead author of the study wrote in the the journal of Psychopathology that the study “reinforces the public speculation that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be linked to psychological disorders like depression and addiction.”

Wow, That Explains a Lot

image What the study didn’t glean is which comes first: excessive internet use or depression. In other words… are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?”

Here is one more interesting quote I just have to share:

“While many of us use the internet to pay bills, shop and send emails, there is a small subset of the population who find it hard to control how much time they spend online, to the point where it interferes with their daily activities.”

This is a really interesting study.

Read more about it here in Science Daily, and come back and tell me what you think.

Oh, you can also read the complete abstract with methodology and other pertinent information at Psychopathology.

[Editor’s Note: Angela cross-posted this at her personal blog. Incidentally, go congratulate her on the new gig! –mrh]

About Angela Connor

After three years as Managing Editor of User-Generated Content at WRAL.com where Angela aunched the first online community, and grew it to more than 15,000 members, she moved on to a bigger, more challenging opportunity. Today, she is the Vice President, Director of Social Media at Capstrat, identifying opportunities and developing strategies for top-notch clients. Angela is also author of the book “18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online.”