While frequency and duration of online social networking may have a negative effect on mental health outcomes, a new study suggests that for some people, Facebook and Twitter may also serve as a resource for managing depression, thereby contributing to more positive outcomes.
The study suggests that online social networking can have both a positive and a negative effect on a person’s well-being, and the frequency, quality, and purpose of the experience will all factor into the outcome.
The review article published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking highlighted that the relationship between online social networking and depression is quite complex and some people may enjoy a social support system in the virtual world as well.
Multiple psychological, social, behavioural, and individual factors may all impact this complex relationship, according to the study by David Baker and Guillermo Perez Algorta from Lancaster University in Britain.
The findings suggest that health professionals should ask patients about social support systems — whether online or in real life — as part of their routine clinical intake.