With Taylor Heffer, Owen Daly, Elliott MacDonell, and Teena Willoughby. In Clinical Psychological Science 7 (2019): pp. 462-470
Research by Twenge, Joiner, Rogers, and Martin has indicated that there may be an association between social-media use and depressive symptoms among adolescents. However, because of the cross-sectional nature of this work, the relationship among these variables over time remains unclear. Thus, in this longitudinal study we examined the associations between social-media use and depressive symptoms over time using two samples: 594 adolescents (Mage = 12.21) who were surveyed annually for 2 years, and 1,132 undergraduate students (Mage = 19.06) who were surveyed annually for 6 years. Results indicate that among both samples, social-media use did not predict depressive symptoms over time for males or females. However, greater depressive symptoms predicted more frequent social-media use only among adolescent girls. Thus, while it is often assumed that social-media use may lead to depressive symptoms, our results indicate that this assumption may be unwarranted.