According to Sky News, a study by the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds found a link between Internet usage and depression. Psychologists found the more time spent surfing the web, the more likely individuals are to be depressed.
The study, published in the Psychopathology Journal, consisted of 1,319 subjects ranging in age from 16 to 51. An online questionnaire was used to track levels of Internet usage and depression. The research did not conclude whether surfing the web causes depression or whether individuals with mental health issues tend to gravitate toward using the Internet.
Dr. Catriona Morrison, leader author of the study, explains, "There was a high correspondence between the amount of time spent on the Internet and levels of depression. If you look at how dependent people feel they are on the internet that is likely to correspond with how happy or sad they feel."
The study noticed a trend in a group of 18 subjects who spent many hours online per day. Classified as "Internet addicted," the average depression score of this group was more than five times higher than non-addicted individuals. Addicts were also more likely to suffer from moderate to severe depression. Age factored in, as well; younger people were more frequently addicted to the Internet than older users in the study.
The University of Leeds website claims this research is the "first large-scale study of Western young people to consider the relationship between Internet addiction and depression."