For many years, psychologists, doctors, and various studies have claimed that increased use of social media results in mental health issues for young people. However, some new research could prove that adults should not be affected by those warnings.
A new study by a professor at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) has found that social networking can help adults. Apparently, it can boost their mental health.
MSU Social Media Study
According to MSU professor Keith Hampton, previous research regarding social media has focused too much on younger age groups like teenagers and students. But these age groups are more likely to endure psychological distress during their adolescence. Thus, Hampton’s focus shifted towards adults while analyzing data from 2015 to 2016. Thousands of subjects were tested, and the results were quite surprising.
Namely, the MSU professor concluded that adult social media users had a 63% less chance of developing psychological distress compared to non-users. Therefore, social media can prevent them from developing serious conditions like anxiety or depression.
According to Hampton, social media benefits the adult lifestyle in many ways. Namely, it helps adults maintain regular communication and relationships with their loved ones, distant relatives, old friends, etc. Moreover, it offers quick access to health and financial information. In today’s busy climate, networking platforms and apps save a lot of time and increase productivity. That further explains the results of the study.
Professor Keith Hampton claims that social networking received a lot of criticism due to previous studies. The studies in question which have only tested the youth proved a significant connection between social networking and mental distress. However, adult age groups were mostly neglected. Hampton’s study was posted in the “Journal of Computer Mediated-Communication.”
The professor has said that the studies which blame social media for mental health issues actually neglect some crucial changes in the society and economy. Overall, the study analyzed over 13,000 adults.
The data was taken from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which is the longest-running survey of households in the world. The data included questions about digital communications technologies and psychological and emotional distress. It’s a refreshing take on social media’s impact since it challenges the claims of its contribution to mental illness.