Association between online social networking and depression in high school students: behavioral physiology viewpoint

Psychiatr Danub. 2012 Mar;24(1):90-3.


Background: Frequent use of Facebook and other social networks is thought to be associated with certain behavioral changes, and some authors have expressed concerns about its possible detrimental effect on mental health. In this work, we investigated the relationship between social networking and depression indicators in adolescent population.

Subjects and methods: Total of 160 high school students were interviewed using an anonymous, structured questionnaire and Back Depression Inventory - second edition (BDI-II-II). Apart from BDI-II-II, students were asked to provide the data for height and weight, gender, average daily time spent on social networking sites, average time spent watching TV, and sleep duration in a 24-hour period.

Results: Average BDI-II-II score was 8.19 (SD=5.86). Average daily time spent on social networking was 1.86 h (SD=2.08 h), and average time spent watching TV was 2.44 h (SD=1.74 h). Average body mass index of participants was 21.84 (SD=3.55) and average sleep duration was 7.37 (SD=1.82). BDI-II-II score indicated minimal depression in 104 students, mild depression in 46 students, and moderate depression in 10 students. Statistically significant positive correlation (p<0.05, R=0.15) was found between BDI-II-II score and the time spent on social networking.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that online social networking is related to depression. Additional research is required to determine the possible causal nature of this relationship.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Serbia
  • Social Networking*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data