The more time that you spend on the internet, the more likely you are to be depressed.
This is according to the latest research to come out of Leeds University. The study surveyed over 1,300 people ranging in age from 16 – 51. The startling results show that depression is more likely in younger, more dependent web users.
Of the people surveyed, 18 (1.2%) of them were deemed as severely depressed. This sample were also classed as ‘hardcore’ internet users. Psychologists from the University have described the evidence as ‘striking’.
This sample also spent proportionately more time looking at porn, online gaming and social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
Study leader, Catriona Morrison believes that depression is caused by excessive time spent on social networking sites, “This 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.”
However the study has left it unclear whether the internet causes depression or whether depressed people are drawn to the web. Dr Morrison said that further research would be needed to answer the ‘chicken or the egg’ question.
Vicki Nash from the mental health charity MIND says that social interaction can never be replaced by networking sites. Vicki Nash from MIND
Critics have said that internet depression cannot be diagnosed reliably and that the small sample could have easily been biased.
For the original research visit http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/707/excessive_internet_use_is_linked_to_depression?research