Media multitasking is associated with symptoms of depression and social anxiety

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Feb;16(2):132-5. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0291. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


We investigated whether multitasking with media was a unique predictor of depression and social anxiety symptoms. Participants (N=318) completed measures of their media use, personality characteristics, depression, and social anxiety. Regression analyses revealed that increased media multitasking was associated with higher depression and social anxiety symptoms, even after controlling for overall media use and the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. The unique association between media multitasking and these measures of psychosocial dysfunction suggests that the growing trend of multitasking with media may represent a unique risk factor for mental health problems related to mood and anxiety. Further, the results strongly suggest that future research investigating the impact of media use on mental health needs to consider the role that multitasking with media plays in the relationship.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Attention*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Music
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • Television
  • Text Messaging
  • Video Games