Depression in girls linked to higher use of social media

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Research suggests link between social media use and depressive symptoms was stronger for girls compared with boys, says Guardian article.

The results prompted renewed concern about the rapidly accumulating evidence that many more girls and young women exhibit a range of mental health problems than boys and young men, and about the damage these can cause, including self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

The study is based on interviews with almost 11,000 14-year-olds who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study, a major research project into children’s lives.

It found that many girls spend far more time using social media than boys, and also that they are much more likely to display signs of depression linked to their interaction on platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook.

Social media is also closely associated with poor sleeping habits, especially among 14-year-olds showing clinical signs of depression. While just 5.4% of girls and 2.7% of boys overall said they slept for seven hours or less, 48.4% of girls with low mood and 19.8% of such boys said the same. Half of depressed girls and a quarter of depressed boys said that they suffer from disrupted sleep “most of the time”.

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