Screen time might boost depression, suicide behaviors in teensNovember 14, 2017
Increased time spent in front of a screen -- in the form of computers, cell phones and tablets -- might have contributed to an uptick in symptoms of depression and suicide-related behaviors and thoughts in American young people, especially girls, according to a new study by San Diego State University professor of psychology Jean Twenge. The findings point to the need for parents to monitor how much time their children are spending in front of media screens.
"These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming," Twenge said. "Teens are telling us they are struggling, and we need to take that very seriously."
Twenge, along with SDSU graduate student Gabrielle Martin and colleagues Thomas Joiner and Megan Rogers at Florida State University, looked at questionnaire data from more than 500,000 U.S. teens found in two anonymous, nationally representative surveys that have been conducted since 1991. They also looked at data suicide statistics kept by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They found that the suicide rate for girls aged 13-18 increased by 65 percent between 2010 and 2015, and the number of girls experiencing so-called suicide-related outcomes--feeling hopeless, thinking about suicide, planning for suicide or attempting suicide -- rose by 12 percent. The number of teen girls reporting symptoms of severe depression increased by 58 percent.
"When I first saw these sudden increases in mental health issues, I wasn't sure what was causing them," said Twenge, author of iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy -- And Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. "But these same surveys ask teens how they spend their leisure time, and between 2010 and 2015, teens increasingly spent more time with screens and less time on other activities. That was by far the largest change in their lives during this five-year period, and it's not a good formula for mental health."
The researchers returned to the data and looked to see if there was a statistical correlation between screen-time and depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes. They found that 48 percent of teens who spent five or more hours per day on electronic devices reported at least one suicide-related outcome, compared to only 28 percent of those who spent less than an hour a day on devices. Depressive symptoms were more common in teens who spent a lot of time on their devices, as well.
The findings fit with previous studies that have linked spending more time on social media to unhappiness.
On the positive side, the researchers found that spending time away from screen and engaging in in-person social interaction, sports and exercise, doing homework, attending religious services, etc., was linked to having fewer depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes. The researchers reported their findings today in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
While economic struggles are generally thought to be linked to depression and suicide, the U.S. economy was improving between 2010 and 2015, so that is unlikely to be the primary driver of these increases, Twenge noted.
"Although we can't say for sure that the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens' lives between 2010 and 2015," she said.
The good news? You don't have to totally give up on electronic devices to lower your risk for depression and suicide-relayed outcomes. Twenge said that limiting screen-time to one or two hours per day would statistically fall into the safe zone for device usage.
San Diego State University
Related Depression Articles:
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.
Related Depression Reading:
The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
by Alex Korb PhD (Author), Daniel J. Siegel MD (Foreword)
Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.
Whether you suffer from depression or just want a better understanding of the brain, this book... View Details
The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Stephen S. Ilardi (Author)
In the past decade, depression rates have skyrocketed, and one in four Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us that our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life.
Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for and... View Details
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
by Mark Williams (Author), John Teasdale (Author), Zindel Segal (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)
If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all.
In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to... View Details
Depression & Other Magic Tricks
by Sabrina Benaim (Author)
Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem "Explaining My Depression to My Mother" has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Andrea Gibson, author of Pansy, writes "I read this book on a day I couldn't get out of bed and it made me feel like I had a friend in the world...Simply put, this book disappears... View Details
Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression (Volume 2)
by Robert Duff Ph.D. (Author)
Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression is the follow up to the best-selling F**K Anxiety. In this book I take the information, tips, and insights that I have gained as a psychologist and translate them into language that doesn’t suck. This is the self-help book for people that don’t usually like self-help books. In Hardcore Self Help: F**K Depression, I talk to you like a friend. That means I speak directly to you without psychobabble. Instead I tell you why your brain is such a troll. I explain why you have literally no energy or motivation. I tell you why people are so terrible at offering... View Details
How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad): A Creative Workbook
by Lee Crutchley (Author), Oliver Burkeman (Foreword)
Author and illustrator Lee Crutchley brings his lively interactive approach to a little-discussed but very common issue: the struggle with depression and anxiety.
Through a series of supportive, surprising, and engaging prompts, HOW TO BE HAPPY (OR AT LEAST LESS SAD) helps readers see things in a new light, and rediscover simple pleasures and everyday joy…or at least feel a little less sad. By turns a workbook, trusted friend, creative outlet, security blanket, and secret diary, the pages of this book will offer solace, distraction, engagement, a fresh perspective, and... View Details
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: 7 Ways to Freedom from Anxiety, Depression, and Intrusive Thoughts (Happiness is a trainable, attainable skill!)
by Lawrence Wallace (Author)
A Practical Guide to Mental and Emotional Freedom!
Take action now and download this book for a limited time discount!
Feeling lost about how to effectively treat disturbing intrusive thoughts? You’re not alone!
This book contains brilliant advice from a former sufferer of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. Inspired by compassion, this book is a gift to fellow casualties of negative thought patterns, destructive behaviors, self-loathers, and those wishing freedom from persistent demons.... View Details
Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety
by Seth J. Gillihan PhD (Author)
Masterfully written with relatable examples, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks allows the reader to quickly connect and feel understood, and offers hope for those who are looking to regain control over their life. ―DR. ROBIN ZASIO, Psy. D., LCSW, director of The Anxiety Treatment Center of Sacramento, featured doctor on the A&E series Hoarders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven to be the tipping point through which many people are finally able to make significant changes and break free of anxiety and depression. Cognitive... View Details
The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression
by Steven Skoczen (Author)
The manual for living with depression that everyone should have been given.
Funny, insightful, and relentlessly honest, The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression sets down the stigma and talks through every aspect of living with depression and building a life you love.
Broken down into bite-sized chapters, this book is packed full with everything you need to know about depression, and 60+ research-backed tools to take it on.
The book doesn't shy away from anything.
It covers day-to-day truths like how food, sleep, and sex get weird and practical insights like how... View Details
Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You
by Richard O'Connor (Author)
Like heart disease, says psychotherapist Richard O'Connor, depression is fueled by complex and interrelated factors: genetic, biochemical, environmental. In this refreshingly sensible book, O'Connor focuses on an additional factor often overlooked: our own habits. Unwittingly we get good at depression. We learn how to hide it, how to work around it. We may even achieve great things, but with constant struggle rather than satisfaction. Relying on these methods to make it through each day, we deprive ourselves of true recovery, of deep joy and healthy emotion.
UNDOING DEPRESSION teaches... View Details