Study finds link between web use and depression

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."

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Wow. Some people really don't read. All they are concluding is this: High internet users have higher level of depression than low internet users, thats the stats. This is same as saying heavy drinkers are more high risk in personality, you can't say they are heavy drinkers because they are high risk, nor could you say they are high risk because they are heavy drinkers.

Is fun these days to bash statistics and find hidden meanings. What is also interesting is what these psychologists make of these indignantly replies, clearly a lot of people is somewhat "butthurt" from this

And the internet DOES cause some sort of distress, depend on how you look at it. If you look at new website, you could be forgiven if World War III is upon us. Facebooking even is a point of depression. A "friend" is organizing a birthday bash and everyone you are not invited. In real life, you might not had found out in the circumstance. If you found it out from a friend, then the hurt might not be so bad. But alone, on a computer, that is an isolated way of being harmed emotionally.

That is not to say internet is the cause of depression. Sometimes it makes people better, sometimes worse. Being a loner in society does not make you depressed, but people are more likely to be depressed as a loner. Doesn't mean it is a cause. No one is ever depressed of a single thing. The web, depending on how you use it, may be one of many contributing factor. And then there is the confounding of it, where people who use the web are generally just depressed.

Someone said the internet is to relax for them personally. Some people find the internet the ONLY way they relax. What that person said is true, but what I add on is also true possibly. They may had lacked social life and stuff like that.

I'm rambling here, point is, web users are more depressed. Doesn't mean you are. Is just the stats. Black people live shorter lives. That is a stat. That doesn't stop a black person living a 100 years, far older than whites, asians, who supposedly should live longer.

But as a tongue in cheek, if you are really heated about this article, clearly this article hit a sore spot on you.

babyHacker said,
Is this a surprise to anyone?
Many heavy internet users get no sex, have no social life, are fat, ...

I don't know what stereotype you have been talking to but I can say that's not true. Most people of the new generation incorporate the internet, computers and technology into their everyday lives. It helps people connect and learn new things.

These psychologists/analysts are really funny people.
It's the contrary of what they say, in reality. People who ARE depressed, just surf the web more than normal people, just as they can drink more, have more sex or whatsoever. It's an escape from the reality and rawness of their condition.
The idea that surfing too much leads to depression is really crazy and unreal.

DaveGreen said,
These psychologists/analysts are really funny people.
It's the contrary of what they say, in reality.
They did not make a conclusion about the cause. You, however, are making the conclusion.

Edited by Kirkburn, Feb 4 2010, 10:54pm :

It's called SOCIAL INTERACTION! GET OUTSIDE PEOPLE!

No matter how much you FACEBOOK, TEXT, SEXT, GOOGLE or NEOWIN it cannot replace actual SOCIAL Interaction between friends and random people. Remember that thing they call the SUN or Weather? No I don't mean from your Weather.com Widget or what you see on the internet to let you know that you have been on your computer too long.

Get out enjoy life! If you don't have one - create one! If you are socially connected via the internet then meet up with those local to you. Even if its to talk about NEOWIN or other things. Hell bring your laptops with you and chat while you are drinking a Latte

Signing off and going outside. It's nice and COLD But I know I alive that way...

Depressed people make me giggle.

If you think life sucks, you're right. But don't take it too seriously, or you'll never get out alive.
oh, and lastly, get a helmet.

There have been many studies about the lack of sun and being outside, causing depression. I would guess most people who are on the internet are not outside. I would say, the results here are true overall. Much more of peoples time is now spent on the net. This simply means that less time is spent doing anything else, and after a 40+ hour work week, how much time is left, and how many people are left that are not themselves on the net? Total the people who are on Facebook, Twitter, WoW, and the list goes on, and calculate an average (doing anything else) time lost to just those things. Then, what are the consequences (if any) of that lost time?

Mr Spoon said,
If you study it hard enough, you can find a link between anything.
Even chalk and cheese!
Are you denying the link, or complaining about the methodology?

Kirkburn said,
Are you denying the link, or complaining about the methodology?

Do you deny that this study is meant to foster the idea that the internet is unhealthy while ignoring the obvious causes of depression in our society?

scratch42069 said,
Do you deny that this study is meant to foster the idea that the internet is unhealthy while ignoring the obvious causes of depression in our society?
Yes. I do refute that suggestion.

This is what science does. It compares variables, and looks for relationships. It doesn't have to make conclusions, and if they hadn't found a link that would have been equally important.

But they found correlation. They didn't suggest which causes which. Are you suggesting science should avoid politically sensitive matters?

Edited by Kirkburn, Feb 4 2010, 6:15pm :

Kirkburn said,
Yes. I do refute that suggestion.

This is what science does. It compares variables, and looks for relationships. It doesn't have to make conclusions, and if they hadn't found a link that would have been equally important.

But they found correlation. They didn't suggest which causes which. Are you suggesting science should avoid politically sensitive matters?

I agree with a scientific approach but I think they should be looking at more variables than the internet before releasing a study. Right now it sounds like one variable was looked at and a conclusion was drawn.

scratch42069 said,
I agree with a scientific approach but I think they should be looking at more variables than the internet before releasing a study. Right now it sounds like one variable was looked at and a conclusion was drawn.
Again, it's not really for us to define what their terms of research should have been. It doesn't work like that. Future studies might look at different variables, but not all within a single study.

Their conclusion was that they believe they found a link. They did not find a *cause*.

Such a lame 'study' that anyone could have guessed and it missed the most important point, which is to prove whether depression leads to internet browsing or browsing leads to depression. I would say in my experience that depressed people browse the internet more often because they have nothing else to do, or are not motivated to do anything else. I would say this is at least better than the other older depressing activity of watching tv all day, because at least browsing requires your participation (plus you may find a job in monster, or take an online course).

Charles Keledjian said,
Such a lame 'study' that anyone could have guessed and it missed the most important point, which is to prove whether depression leads to internet browsing or browsing leads to depression
It's not really for us to judge whether the research is worthy. Science quite legitimately covers "obvious" things, because you get actual stats out of it. It seems they specifically did not go looking for causation.

I have to say I can get pretty depressed after a day of just internet. mindless refreshing of forums, facebook etc. the problem is that I'm often too lazy to do anything productive or just go for a bike ride or a run eventhough I know it will make me feel so much better. not sure if this can be blamed on the internet though, cause I can get the same when playing a game all day.

did they stop and think it might just be those with addictive personalities tend to be more depressed... and that it isnt the internet per say, but anything that they are addicted too.

what a dumb biased study.

move the study to the trash, right click and empty!

I got many good friends from Internet, nice songs, up-to-date news, beautiful wallpaper, so on. I love surf Internet, i get happy so much.

vaughan at mindhacks.com has posted a sensible breakdown of the study.
http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2010/02/the_internet_depres.html

The short answer: the result is statistically significant, but so small as to be meaningless, and the depression scales they're using aren't reliable predictors of actual depression.

still1 said,
It looks like a research FAIL
-1
No, it isn't. Read the article.

"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."

AHHHHHHH! WE MUST MAKE THE INTERNET ILLEGAL! PROHIBIT IT, AND THROW ANYONE AFFILIATED WITH IT IN ANYWAY TO ROT IN JAIL!!!!! THIS IS HARD COLD PROOF THAT THE INTERNET HAS DONE MORE HARM THAN GOOD!!!!!!11!!

Really? I'm a Political Science student. Of course the internet makes me depressed. It's a result of what I read on the internet. You know what else makes me depressed? Election day. I think there should be a study on that.

Turbonium said,
Correlation does not indicate causation.

"Correlation does not imply causation"... but still, that's exactly right. This study is a link between isolation from society and depression, not internet use and depression.

FUD. Hopefully this wont get plastered all over the news and get blown out of proportion like every other "study" like this does. It'll be an "epidemic" in a minute.

pasty2k2 said,
FUD. Hopefully this wont get plastered all over the news and get blown out of proportion like every other "study" like this does. It'll be an "epidemic" in a minute.

I like that, "epidemic in a minute". Just like one bad posting on Twitter or Facebook would be epidemic in a minute. Any information can be epidemic in a minute, if everyone can see it.

pasty2k2 said,
FUD. Hopefully this wont get plastered all over the news and get blown out of proportion like every other "study" like this does. It'll be an "epidemic" in a minute.
The research isn't FUD. What can be FUD is how it's presented by the press.

It's not the internet that's causing depression, it's current affairs in the world that has been the culprit. Stop the media and governments from scaring the public and I'd bet everyone would live a lot happier and healthier.

I've got severe depression and it sure as sh** isn't the net. It's somewhere between our beagle passing away Jan 08 and losing my job Oct 08. Internet is a savior. What a stupid bunch of bull____

Depressed people are looking to take their mind off things (not that I'm a psychologist but it's pretty obvious), hence the Internet is a great activity for those with depression. The research states "what we don't know is which comes first - are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?"

I think we all know the answer - bloody useless study as usual.

PatrynXX said,
I've got severe depression and it sure as sh** isn't the net. It's somewhere between our beagle passing away Jan 08 and losing my job Oct 08. Internet is a savior. What a stupid bunch of bull____

Hey now! These news can be read both ways.

*I* clearly read it as depressed people often hang out on the Internet. NOT that Internet is causing depression. In either case, there'll be a correlation, but I think the reason is the former one. Depressed people often withdraw themselves from the social life, after all.

08993 said,
I think we all know the answer - bloody useless study as usual.
No. Not the point of research - it isn't always about coming to specific conclusions. They found a link. The next step, which could be done by other people, is to look into the causes.

Kirkburn said,
No. Not the point of research - it isn't always about coming to specific conclusions. They found a link. The next step, which could be done by other people, is to look into the causes.

wasn't quite too clear but like 08993's response Wonder what season of the year they did this in too. Winter or summer. too many variables in play.


as far as politics now instead of one word now one can't stay the R word without being called on to get fired. Been called that before. That and one can use retard in farming. Like the corn is on a retarded growth pattern. Kinda like Negro. Which one can't actually bad the word because it's spanish for black. At least two soda's I know use the word in front of a black horse. It's negro (and whatever the word horse is in spanish

I found more depressing people that watching Fox news... talking about murders, virus and so on... over and over again. Personally I prefer the internet at least I can read whatever I want to.

Is it really so bad to be addicted to information? And I don't mean useless information like social networking sites...

Tekkerson said,
Ah crap, I just reminded myself of that stupid Bing commercial... Eck.

Information it's useless if you dont go outside to apply it

Hmm... I think I'll let you think about what you just said. Since apparently there's no way for information to travel outside anyone's homes.

Tekkerson said,
Hmm... I think I'll let you think about what you just said. Since apparently there's no way for information to travel outside anyone's homes.

You know perfectly what I meant

Tekkerson said,
Is it really so bad to be addicted to information? And I don't mean useless information like social networking sites...

Hmm, I would have to answer maybe. The web is FULL of information. The problem is that it's mostly (what would you guess as a percentage of misinformation is, 90%?). And is that number going up or down? Plus, the more someone actually does know about anything, the more there is to know, always.

Edited by justmike, Feb 4 2010, 1:32pm :

News comes from everywhere on the net, yes even this site. If I look at the sidebar on CNN at this moment it shows, in order:
deaths
jobs lost
kill
murder
shock
gay
kill man
blasted for prayer
burns man
snatched off streets
(then a couple of good ones)

"Our research indicates that excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don't know is which comes first - are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?

DUH DUH...

08993 said,
"Our research indicates that excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don't know is which comes first - are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?

DUH DUH...


Agreed, the answer is so obvious it's funny. Obviously, the Internet doesn't cause depression, or enormous amounts of people would be depressed. However, it's very easy to grasp that depressed people withdraw from the social life (they're depressed!) = towards the Internet.

08993 said,
"Our research indicates that excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don't know is which comes first - are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?

DUH DUH...


depressed people troll online, and people who get trolled at become depressed

Northgrove said,

Agreed, the answer is so obvious it's funny. Obviously, the Internet doesn't cause depression, or enormous amounts of people would be depressed.

How do you know they are not?

Northgrove said,
Agreed, the answer is so obvious it's funny. Obviously, the Internet doesn't cause depression, or enormous amounts of people would be depressed. However, it's very easy to grasp that depressed people withdraw from the social life (they're depressed!) = towards the Internet.

The research wasn't about identifying the cause, nor is the "cause" that obvious.