Middle-aged people using certain social media apps are at risk for their mental health, researchers say


People over 50 are at greater risk of developing depression if they regularly use social media apps, a new study suggests.

According to the report, middle-aged adults will experience more symptoms of depression and anxiety if they are on social media popular with the younger generation, such as TikTok and Snapchat.

Lead author Professor Roy Perlis said: “People who used Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat were much more likely to come back and tell us that they felt depressed the next time they completed the survey. “

During the one-year study, more than 5,000 adults completed multiple assessments on their emotional well-being and on the social media platforms they interact with.

Academics at Harvard University found that 9% of the group experienced a decline in their mental health by the end of the trial, with most of those participants reporting regular use of Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok.

The results show that Snapchat users in their 50s were 50% more likely to develop depression, while middle-aged TikTok users felt more depressed than younger people who used the app.

However, the participants who reported feelings of sadness after using Facebook were mostly under the age of 35.

According to the analysis, not matching the ‘target’ demographics of a social media platform could explain why middle-aged adults felt depressed after frequent use of Snapchat and TikTok, two mainly used networks. by the younger generation.

While Facebook users are mostly middle aged which is why young people feel sad after using the platform.

Professor Perlis believes that people who feel sad after using social media platforms may be “vulnerable to depression”.

He said: “In particular, the use of social media may simply be a marker of underlying vulnerability to depression.”

Previous research has shown that social media harms the mental health of young people. However, this analysis is one of the first studies examining the link between social media and depression in middle-aged adults.

The study was published in the medical journal JAMA network open.


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