Assessing the link between time spent on social networking sites and depression among adolescents




Story, Kimberly Michelle

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Since the emergence of portable technology (e.g. smart phones and tablets) and social networking sites, increases in depressive symptoms have occurred. While there is much research regarding depression and time spent on social networking among adults, a systematic review of the literature showed very few studies focusing on younger adolescent students. The purpose of the study was to assess the link between the time spent on social networking sites and depression, as measured by cognitive vulnerability and its adverse impact on performing daily tasks, in a non-probability sample of 9th and 10th graders in an urban school district in south Texas. The inquiry was guided by the Hopelessness Theory of Depression (HTD), which states that highly desired outcomes will not occur regardless of an individual’s skill or expertise (Abramson, Metalsky, & Alloy, 1989). The Social Networking and Depression Questionnaire (SNDQ) was used for the purpose of data collection. Analysis of the data showed that the study’s 85 participants had experienced cognitive vulnerability about once per week with a little impact on completing daily tasks. The results did not support the a priori hypothesis, and it was concluded that there was no statistically significant association between the time spent on social networking sites and depression. A careful examination of the data suggested that the results might have not be the same if (1) the sample were heterogeneous and (2) a different instrumentation had been used to measure depression. Practical implications of the findings were discussed. The study’s findings, delimitations, and limitation were synthesized to recommend further research.



adolescents, apathy, depression, education, hopelessness, social networking



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