Early adolescence is characterized by wide-reaching hormonal changes, as well as physiological changes throughout the body. At the same time, all sorts of neural, cognitive and social shifts are happening. These changes could make social-media environments, such as those provided by Snapchat or TikTok, particularly alluring, but also especially impactful on mental health9–11. Several developmental-psychology studies have shown, for instance, that adolescents — particularly those in early to mid-adolescence — place increased importance on being able to interact with their peers, and on what their peers think of them12. Other studies suggest that although young children tend to view themselves positively, as they become adolescents, their ideas about themselves come to more closely align with what they perceive others to think of them13,14. Still more work has shown that being rejected or not being included has a greater impact on mood for those in early to mid-adolescence than for people older than 2515.
Compared with participants who used less than 120 minutes per day of social media, for example, young adults who used more than 300 minutes per day were 2.8 times as likely to become depressed within six months.The study, which will be published online Dec. 10 and is scheduled for the February 2021 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first large, national study to show a link between social media use and depression over time.
Brian A. Primack, Ariel Shensa, Jaime E. Sidani, César G. Escobar-Viera, Michael J. Fine. Temporal Associations Between Social Media Use and Depression. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.09.014
The survey results are in line with recent data from Mental Health America, which indicate dramatic increases in depression, anxiety, and suicidality since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citation: Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1external icon.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in depression, anxiety, psychosis, and suicidality, new research shows.
The most profound health problems were found among adults younger than 25 years. Roughly 90% screened positive for moderate to severe depression, and 80% screened positive for moderate to severe anxiety.
One of the most alarming findings was that in June, 25,498 participants who screened positive for depression reported thinking of suicide or self-harm on “more than half of days to nearly every day.” A total of 14,607 participants said they had these thoughts every day.
Cross-Sectional Weighted Prevalence of Despair by Race/Ethnicity and Education: United States, 2016–2017
Note. HS = high school. The figure shows results for wave V of the study. The average age was 37 years. Non-Hispanic White with high school or less education was the reference category. We conducted a χ2 test of independence to compare proportions in each group to the reference category. *P < .05; **P < .01; ***P < .001.
Conclusions. Results suggest that generally rising despair among the young adult cohort now reaching midlife that cuts across racial/ethnic, educational, and geographic groups may presage rising midlife mortality for these subgroups in the next decade.
Our study had potential limitations. We measured despair using several indicators of mental and emotional health and substance use. These indicators do not completely capture all domains of despair; for example, we were unable to account for economic anxiety, reports of physical pain, or hopelessness. We did not examine mortality.
Results: We found a progressively higher dietary GI to be associated with increasing odds of incident depression in fully adjusted models (OR for the fifth compared with first quintile: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.37), with the trend being statistically significant (P = 0.0032). Progressively higher consumption of dietary added sugars was also associated with increasing odds of incident depression (OR for the fifth compared with first quintile: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.41; P-trend = 0.0029). Higher consumption of lactose, fiber, nonjuice fruit, and vegetables was significantly associated with lower odds of incident depression, and nonwhole/refined grain consumption was associated with increased odds of depression.
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