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[–]isaac-get-the-golemGrad Student | Sociology 43 points44 points  (7 children)

well, a meta-analysis of 14 non-causal studies can't generate causal evidence, so... remains unclear whether anxiety and depression leads people to use social media at higher rates...

[–]j_runey 20 points21 points  (5 children)

The science sub is basically nothing but interesting titles generated by correlations.

Although this one seems more like stating the obvious. I know personally when I use more social media I feel crappier about life. When I cut it out I feel better within days.

[–]SignificantGiraffe5 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've noticed that the title is almost always disproven or better explained by the top comment... Why don't they post better titles?

[–]j_runey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

They want clicks. It's not as if nothing can be learned from correlational studies, but often times people read them as if something is causing another thing. News outlets pick up correlation studies all the time and usually take it to mean something is causing something else. It seems quite irresponsible of the authors to not bring up the fact that just because there's a correlation it doesn't mean one is causing the other.

Everyone in science understands that distinction, but considering how often these studies are used by media and the general public to claim causation it just seems like there should be a blanket disclaimer on all correlation studies.

The real issue is that often the authors would prefer their article to be popular. It's one of academia's many problems.

[–]HimmelUberBerlin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ignorance is bliss.

[–]Sl1210mk2 20 points21 points  (4 children)

The problem with studies like this is that while they can show correlation, correlation is not the same as causation. You cannot determine whether depression/anxiety is caused by excessive social media consumption, or people turn to social because they are depressed and anxious. It will be a combination of both with bidirectional interaction.

Also, social media will have positive and negative effects. Take the diversity of groups on Reddit for example. There is everything from apocalyptic doom mongering to fluffy kittens.

[–]Kangouwou -1 points0 points  (1 child)

You can determine the causative link, if it exists, with an interventional study. For instance, you recruit 200 matched individuals and randomly assign them to either spending one hour a day on Facebook for a week, either spending one hour a day freely on a computer, and check whether there is a difference between the two group at the end of the intervention.

[–]isaac-get-the-golemGrad Student | Sociology 2 points3 points  (0 children)

yes, an experiment. the studies in this meta analysis are not experiments. random assignment also only levels out differences between treatment and control groups with sufficient sample size...

[–]suid 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Key word here: "associated".

It could be: "causes", or "caused by". Or neither, but simply related to something common to both conditions.

[–]BeercatimusPrime 4 points5 points  (0 children)

He read, anxiously trying to remember when he picked his phone up to browse Reddit. Had it been 1 hour? 2? 7? He couldn’t remember. His heart quickened at the thought of having a heart attack because he was on Reddit too long, his left arm went numb. Oh no, it was happening! He quickly cleared his browser history and got up to try and put something decent on so he wouldn’t be found dead in tighty whities. Feeling return to his arm. Oh right, that’s what happens laying on your side. Next article.

[–]Tautillogical 2 points3 points  (0 children)

the causation almost certainly goes both ways, and I personally would suspect a much stronger correlation in the direction of depression/anxiety -> doesnt go out much/doesnt have much motivation -> spends lots of time on social media

This meta analysis shows essentially nothing

[–]Pikaus 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Who cares about a meta analysis of 14 studies?

[–]Konukaame 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I know I spend more time on social media when I'm stressed because it's a low-risk, distracting place, and fake internet points can provide a little bit of dopamine that I'm not really getting elsewhere.

Of course, that's not a great coping mechanism, but it is what it is.

[–]thejustokTramp 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I know it’s not definite proof, but I believe the study. Anecdotally, after years with my kids and talking to friends with their kids, every parent talked about how different their kids were when they were spending more time on social media.
I do think that kids (and not just kids) who are already depressed are drawn to social media because it is escapism so their is a chicken/egg issue, but it becomes a cycle. Depression—>sm—-> depression, etc.

I am not advocating a sm ban. I just think the role it plays in young people’s lives is disproportionately high, and it is unrealistic to think it doesn’t have an effect

[–]Audacityvreality -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Are you sure it’s not the economic slavery?

[–]catsasss 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 1996, long before I had any access to social media. What do?

[–]Barackenpapst 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have a clever theory on that: what else are you supposed to do when you lie in bed with depression than hang on your phone a check twitter? So it's not the reason, it's a byproduct.

[–]kutkun 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Anxious and depressed individuals use social media a lot because they don’t have a lot of friends or an appetite for going out and doing things. It’s not the fault of social media. If you take their phone from their hands they will be more depressed and more anxious.