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Effects Of Social Media On Mental Health

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Effects Of Social Media On Mental Health Question: Discuss about the Effects Of Social Media On Mental Health.     Answer: Social media is a collective term for a number of sites and applications, which allow users to create various kinds of content, share the content made by others or connect with other individuals or parties online (Fox & Moreland, 2015). Social media has become a major part of human lives in the present day and there are a number of social media sites, which have different features and purposes. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap chat are few of the most commonly used social media sites. There are others like Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, which have varied purposes. Facebook and Twitter are very popular and almost every aspect of a person’s life gets updated on the facebook statuses. World health Organization has defined Mental health as a state of wellbeing in which individuals are capable of realizing their potentials, are capable of coping up with the life stresses, have the ability to work in a productive manner, is able to contribute to the society and is well adjusted. In simpler words, mental health is about emotional, social and psychological well being, which affects the way we feel and act in various situation (Galderisi et al., 2017). Therefore, mental disorder is term used for a wide range of disorders that affects the mood, thought processes and feelings of individuals. A study conducted by Kimberly S. Young(1996) explored the emergence of a new disorder called the Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). In her research she wanted to investigate if Internet addiction actually existed and what possible problematic behavior that could arise in case of such chronic misuse of the Internet. An adapted version of the criteria for pathological gambling that was defined by DSMIV was used. 396 dependent internet users and 100 non dependent users (control group) were classified on the basis of the DSMIV criteria (Young,1998). After conducting qualitative analysis of the collected data, it was found that there existed a significant behavioral difference between the two groups. Prior to this research, there had been no identification of Internet usage in terms of problematic behavior by sociologists, psychiatrists or psychologists. The results of the study suggested that the Dependent group spent a significantly more amount of time on the internet that the non-dependents. The dependents spent a mean of 38.5 hours per week in comparison to non-dependents who spent an average of 4.9 hours. 35 percent of the dependents utilized chat rooms more to spend theory time in comparison to 7 percent for the non-dependents (Young,1998). Therefore, since the emergence of social media, individuals were spending most of the time in there. Dependent users viewed the internet as a place to meet new people and socialize, they even preferred on line relationships, as it felt less threatening. Non-dependent users however found internet to just be a useful resource for information and a medium for certain business or personal communications (Young,1998).. On examining the extent of problems, it was found that dependents had reported numerous family, personal and occupational issues, the non-dependents faced no such issues except time management problems. Dependents were on the internet longer that they were with their loved ones and real people, which hampered relationships, academics, professions etc. It was found that despite the number of issues, 54 percent of the dependents were not willing to cut down internet usage and the rest 46 percent had made several unsuccessful attempts to cut off.  Although strong evidences were found from the study, there were numerous limitations to it. Number of participants were too small, the control group was nit demographically matched for the generalizabilty of the results. Also this study had numerous inherent biases, the group of internet users were self-selected , number of women were 20 percent more (Young,1998).. However, this experiment was conducted in 1996 and acted as a foundation for IADs and hence was worth mentioning, the usage of social networks , however, have changed and evolved way too much in the past 12 years and recent studies have more proof of mental health related issues.   Young in another study that she conducted in 1998, tried to explore the relationship between internet addiction and depression. The Beck Depression Inventory was used and a population of 312 was taken, where 259 profiles were categorized under addicted users (Young, 1998). The results of the study suggested that levels of depression were higher in individuals addicted to the internet. Also, it suggested that clinical depression was associated significantly  with the increase in levels of personal use of internet. The researchers stated that either people who were already depressed or suffered from poor motivation, low self-esteem tended to be overly involved in internet usage, or, depressed individuals are more drawn to internet usage because that way they do not have to deal with the inter-personal difficulties (Young, 1998). However, it is not clear from the study, if depression preceded development of IAD or was it a consequence (Young, 1998). Researchers Amichai-Hamburger, Wainapel, and Fox (2002) conducted a study to find out the relationship between extraversion, introversion and Internet Interaction. The study examined the ways in which personality characters determined the affect of the user in terms of importance given to internet social interaction when compared to real life interactions. The study was conducted on a population of 40 participants who were familiar with using ‘chat’ and after a “chat session”, they were asked to fill up some questionnaires. The results of the study suggested that individuals who scored high on neuroticism and introversion were able to locate their real self on the internet. Individuals with high extraversion and stability scores located their real selves in traditional face-to-face social interactions (Amichai-Hamburger, Wainapel  & Fox, 2002). However, the major limitation of the study was generalizability as the number of participants was very small. The implication of the study however was strong as it gave an idea of how personality characters can be related to internet and social media usage. Researchers Leo Sang-Min Whang,  Sujin Lee and Geunyoung Chang (2003) conducted a study in South Korea to find out the psychological features of the people who are overly involved in internet usage. There were 13, 588 participants in the study of which 7878 were males and 5710. The study used Young’s Internet addiction Scale(IAS), 3.5% of the population were diagnosed as Internet Addicts (IA) and 18.4 % as possible addicts (PA). The findings of the study suggested that there exited a strong relationship between the internet addiction scale and dysfunctional social behavior (Whang, Lee, & Chang, 2003). The results showed that ISs tried to distance themselves from reality in comparison to Pas and Non Addicts (NA). The IAs tended to access the internet when stressed or depressed and also reported high levels of depressed mood, loneliness and compulsivity when compared to the other two groups (Whang, Lee, & Chang, 2003). The IAs had higher vulnerability towards interpersonal dangers like developing unusually intimate feelings for strangers, in comparison to the Pas and NAs. However, the researchers suggested that further research was necessary to find out the link between internet dependency and mental wellbeing (Whang, Lee, & Chang, 2003). The major limitation of this study however is the representation of the population, firstly the study was conducted mostly on the Korean population, and secondly most of the population had easy internet access and were already engaged in internet related tasks. Therefore, generalizations need to be made carefully.   A research was conducted by Junghyun Kim,  Robert LaRose,  and Wei Peng, (2009) to explore the relationship between Excess internet usage and Psychological well being.  The research was started on the basis on an assumption that individuals overuse internet to relieve themselves from psychosocial problems (Kim, LaRose & Peng, 2009). 635 undergraduate students participated in the study, 58 percent of whom were females and 42 percent were male. The participants were asked to choose their favorite internet activities from a range of 11 social networking sites, downloading music or videos, online games, online shopping, pornography and emails. Social networking sites were chosen by 264 participants, steaming videos by 106 participants, and instant messaging by 105. 475 of the total population or 74.8 % selected these three activities as the top three (Kim, LaRose & Peng, 2009). The results showed that lonely  individual or the individuals with a lack of  good social skills had the tendency of developing compulsive internet usage behaviors which in turn caused them negative outcomes in theory work life, personal life, significant relationships etc. instead of  relieving them from the interpersonal issues they had in the first place (Kim, LaRose & Peng, 2009). These increased negative outcomes were expected to lead these individuals to more loneliness and isolation. Previous studies had shown evidences that social use of internet could cause more problems that entertainment use, this study suggested that neither of the two aspects showed stronger associations with compulsive use of the internet (Kim, LaRose & Peng, 2009). Amy Muise, Emily Christofides and Serge Desmarais (2009)  conducted a study to find out if there was any role of Facebook in causing individuals to experience jealousy and if exposure to Facebook predicted jealousy beyond and above relationship and personal factors conducted a study. According to the researches, there are anecdotal evidences, which suggest Facebook being responsible for inducing suspicion and jealousy in romantic relationships. The participant in this study included 308 undergraduate students who were asked to complete an online survey to assess the demographic and personality factors while exploring the amount of Facebook use of participants (Muise, Christofides & Desmarais, 2009). A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted to control the personality and relationship factors of the participants. It was revealed from the analysis that Facebook usage predicted Facebook related jealousy significantly. The researchers argue that this maybe the result of a feedback loop which exposes Facebook users to certain ambiguous information about their partners which they may have not had access to previously . This new information, according to the researches, might be the reason, which incites individuals for further usage of Facebook (Muise, Christofides & Desmarais, 2009). This study gives evidences that Facebook usage has an unusual contribution in individuals for experiencing jealousy in romantic experience. Jealousy is a feeling, which when felt excessively can cause numerous mental health issues, low self-esteem, aggression, loneliness and can hamper t mental well being of individuals. This study was however, conducted on a sample of young adults and cannot be generalized to the other age groups. The researchers state that adults may be more inclined to having jealousy issues in their relationships due to facebook, as they have more of their partners past to uncover (Muise, Christofides & Desmarais, 2009). Therefore, this study is an excellent example of social network causing serious issues in personal and romantic life, thereby hampering the general well being of individuals.   Xiuqin et al., (2010) conducted a research in which the personality profiles of adolescent males  who had Internet Addiction Disorder(IAD)  was compared to the individuals without IAD in order to determine if IAD has any association with certain parental rearing behaviors. 304 participants were included in the study out of which 104 had IAD and 104 did not (Xiuqin et al., 2010). The two groups had to complete three psychological instruments, which were Symptom Checklist-90-revision (SCL-90-R),  Egna Minnen av Barndoms Uppfostran—My Memories of Upbringing (EMBU) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Revised (EPQ-R) (Xiuqin et al., 2010). The SCL-90-R results of the IAD adolescents had higher mean scores in comparisons to the ones without IAD for all of the nine domains. They had significantly higher scores for interpersonal sensitivity. Obse0ssive–compulsive, depression, hostility, anxiety, and paranoid ideation. They also had significantly higher global symptom index by about 10 percent (Xiuqin et al., 2010). The EPQ profiles revealed that, adolescents who were dependent on independent had significantly lower extraversion scores and higher psychoticism scores in comparison to the control group. According to the EMBU profiles, IAD individuals rated maternal as well as paternal rearing practices to be lacking of emotional warmth, punitive (mothers), over-involved and rejecting. Therefore, the results of this study confirmed the hypothesis that IAD occurs along with personality traits and mental symptoms like psychoticism and introversion. The findings of this study therefore suggested that family functions and parental style act as essential factors in development of internet dependency in individuals (Xiuqin et al., 2010). Kross et al., (2013) conducted a study to explore the influence of Facebook on the subjective well-being of individuals. One of the most accepted social media sites which has over a 1000 million people on it is Facebook. The researchers conducted experience sampling which is the most reliable method used to measure psychological experience and in-vivo behavior. They text-messaged the participants five times each day, for about two weeks in order to examine two subjective behavior components that Facebook usage might have an influence on: “How people feel from moment to moment?” and “How satisfied they are with their lives?” (Kross et al., 2013) . The results obtained indicated that the use of Facebook predicted a negative shift on both the variables over the two week time period. This meant that with more usage of Facebook at one point of time, individuals felt worse the next time the researchers text messaged them. There was a clear decline in their life satisfaction rate declined more over the two weeks as involvement with Facebook increased (Kross et al., 2013). However, when individuals interacted with people directly, no such negative outcome had gotten predicted. It was also seen that individuals did not get moderated by the size of other people’s Facebook Network, motivation for Facebook usage, loneliness, perceived supportiveness, depression, gender or self-esteem. It is known that Facebook is an invaluable source of social connection with people far and wide (Cheung,  Lee & Chan, 2015). However, the results of this  study states that  Facebook Usage has a significantly negative effect on the subjective mental wellbeing of individuals over a period of time (Kross et al., 2013) A similar study was conducted by Wang et al., (2014) in which they tried to study the influence of Social Networking sites on the friendships and wellbeing of young adults. It was found that there was an inverse relationship between social network usage and wellbeing. However no significant effect of friendship was found (Wang et al., 2014).   The use of internet and social networks has boomed to a huge extent in the past decade. It would be inappropriate to use the term “usage” because internet and social networks have now become an integral part of our lives. Over usage of anything has its impact, and so has the usage of social network. The primary reason to be on social media was to become more social; however, that is what has led most people to become unsocial and lonely. Numerous Mental health issues relating to excessive use of social media have come up, and it is just a matter of time that the number of researches in this field will increase by manifold. For the past decade researchers have conducted numerous studies concerning usage of internet and mental health, however, there are very few studies relating mental health to involvement in social networking.   References Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Wainapel, G., & Fox, S. (2002). ” On the Internet no one knows I’m an introvert”: Extroversion, neuroticism, and Internet interaction. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 5(2), 125-128. Cheung, C., Lee, Z. W., & Chan, T. K. (2015). Self-disclosure in social networking sites: the role of perceived cost, perceived benefits and social influence. Internet Research, 25(2), 279-299. Fox, J., & Moreland, J. J. (2015). The dark side of social networking sites: An exploration of the relational and psychological stressors associated with Facebook use and affordances. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 168-176. Galderisi, S., Heinz, A., Kastrup, M., Beezhold, J., & Sartorius, N. (2017). A proposed new definition of mental health. Psychiatria Hungarica, 51(3), 407-411. Kim, J., LaRose, R., & Peng, W. (2009). Loneliness as the cause and the effect of problematic Internet use: The relationship between Internet use and psychological well-being. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(4), 451-455. Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D. S., Lin, N., … & Ybarra, O. (2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PloS one, 8(8), e69841. Muise, A., Christofides, E., & Desmarais, S. (2009). More information than you ever wanted: Does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy?. CyberPsychology & behavior, 12(4), 441-444. Wang, J. L., Jackson, L. A., Gaskin, J., & Wang, H. Z. (2014). The effects of Social Networking Site (SNS) use on college students’ friendship and well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 229-236. Whang, L. S. M., Lee, S., & Chang, G. (2003). Internet over-users’ psychological profiles: a behavior sampling analysis on internet addiction. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 6(2), 143-150. Xiuqin, H., Huimin, Z., Mengchen, L., Jinan, W., Ying, Z., & Ran, T. (2010). Mental health, personality, and parental rearing styles of adolescents with Internet addiction disorder. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(4), 401-406. Young, K. S. (1998). Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 1(3), 237-244. Young, K.S. and Rogers, R.C., 1998. The relationship between depression and Internet addiction. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 1(1), pp.25-28

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