Using ecological momentary assessment to determine media use by individuals with and without major depressive disorder

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Apr;165(4):360-5. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.27.


Objective: To use ecological momentary assessment techniques to measure the association of major depressive disorder (MDD) with media use.

Design: Data were collected using an ecological momentary assessment protocol with cellular telephone-based brief interviews.

Setting: Participants received as many as 60 telephone calls from a trained staff member during 5 extended weekends in an 8-week period.

Participants: One hundred six adolescent participants who were part of a larger neurobehavioral study of depression in Pittsburgh from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2008.

Main exposure: At each call, participants were asked whether they were using the following 5 types of media: television or movies, music, video games, Internet, and print media, such as magazines, newspapers, and books.

Main outcome measures: We developed multivariable models to determine the independent association of each type of media use with MDD, controlling for sociodemographic variables.

Results: Of the 106 participants, 46 were diagnosed as having MDD. In multivariable models controlling for age, sex, and race, each increasing quartile of audio use was associated with an 80% increase in the odds of having MDD (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.8; P = .01 for trend). Conversely, each increasing quartile of print media use was associated with a 50% decrease in the odds of having MDD (odds ratio, 0.5; 95% confidence interval, 0.3-0.9; P = .009 for trend).

Conclusions: Major depressive disorder is positively associated with popular music exposure and negatively associated with reading print media such as books. Further research elucidating the directionality and strength of these relationships may help advance understanding of the relationships between media use and MDD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Communications Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors