Background.: The current study sought to examine the relationship between documented social media use and suicidality and self-injurious behaviors in adolescents at the time of psychiatric hospitalization.
Methods.: We retrospectively identified adolescents (aged 12-17 years) hospitalized on an inpatient psychiatric unit during 1 year. Abstracted information included documented social media use, demographic variables, documented self-injurious behaviors, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and the Suicide Status Form-II. Logistic regression was implemented to examine the effect of social media use on the risk of self-injurious behaviors and suicidality.
Results.: Fifty-six adolescents who used social media were identified and matched with 56 non-social media users. Those with reported social media use had significantly greater odds of self-injurious behaviors at admission (odds ratio, 2.55; 95% confidence intervals, 1.17-5.71; P = .02) vs youth without reported social media use. Adolescents with reported social media use also had greater odds of increased suicidal ideation and suicide risk than those with no reported use, but these relationships were not statistically significant.
Conclusions.: Social media use in adolescents with a psychiatric admission may be associated with the risk of self-injurious behaviors and could be a marker of impulsivity. Further work should guide the assessment of social media use as part of a routine adolescent psychiatric history.
Keywords: Adolescent; impulsivity; inpatient psychiatry; self-injurious behavior; social media; suicidal ideation.
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