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Article

Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms—A Longitudinal Study from Early to Late Adolescence

1
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5921; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165921
Received: 3 July 2020 / Revised: 10 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health of Child and Young People)
An increasing number of studies have addressed how adolescents’ social media use is associated with depressive symptoms. However, few studies have examined whether these links occur longitudinally across adolescence when examined at the individual level of development. This study investigated the within-person effects between active social media use and depressive symptoms using a five-wave longitudinal dataset gathered from 2891 Finnish adolescents (42.7% male, age range 13–19 years). Sensitivity analysis was conducted, adjusting for gender and family financial status. The results indicate that depressive symptoms predicted small increases in active social media use during both early and late adolescence, whereas no evidence of the reverse relationship was found. Yet, the associations were very small, statistically weak, and somewhat inconsistent over time. The results provide support for the growing notion that the previously reported direct links between social media use and depressive symptoms might be exaggerated. Based on these findings, we suggest that the impact of social media on adolescents’ well-being should be approached through methodological assumptions that focus on individual-level development. View Full-Text
Keywords: social media; depressive symptoms; adolescence; longitudinal study; cross-lagged panel model social media; depressive symptoms; adolescence; longitudinal study; cross-lagged panel model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Puukko, K.; Hietajärvi, L.; Maksniemi, E.; Alho, K.; Salmela-Aro, K. Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms—A Longitudinal Study from Early to Late Adolescence. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5921. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165921

AMA Style

Puukko K, Hietajärvi L, Maksniemi E, Alho K, Salmela-Aro K. Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms—A Longitudinal Study from Early to Late Adolescence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(16):5921. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165921

Chicago/Turabian Style

Puukko, Kati, Lauri Hietajärvi, Erika Maksniemi, Kimmo Alho, and Katariina Salmela-Aro. 2020. "Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms—A Longitudinal Study from Early to Late Adolescence" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 16: 5921. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165921

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