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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 May 22;5(2):e44. doi: 10.2196/mental.8471.

Internet Use, Depression, and Anxiety in a Healthy Adolescent Population: Prospective Cohort Study.

Author information

1
Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Brigham and Women's Hospital & Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States.
2
Center on Media and Child Health, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Psychiatric disorders, including conduct disturbances, substance abuse, and affective disorders, emerge in approximately 20% of adolescents. In parallel with the rise in internet use, the prevalence of depression among adolescents has increased. It remains unclear whether and how internet use impacts mental health in adolescents.

OBJECTIVE:

We assess the association between patterns of internet use and two mental health outcomes (depression and anxiety) in a healthy adolescent population.

METHODS:

A total of 126 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 years were recruited. Participants reported their typical computer and internet usage patterns. At baseline and one-year follow-up, they completed the Beck Depression Index for primary care (BDI-PC) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory for Primary Care (BAI-PC). Individual linear regressions were completed to determine the association between markers of internet use at baseline and mental health outcomes at one-year follow-up. All models controlled for age, gender, and ethnicity.

RESULTS:

There was an inverse correlation between minutes spent on a favorite website per visit and BAI-PC score. No association was found between internet use and BDI-PC score.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is no relationship between internet use patterns and depression in adolescents, whereas internet use may mitigate anxiety in adolescents with higher levels of baseline anxiety.

KEYWORDS:

internet use; mental health; psychiatric disorders; social networking sites

PMID:
29789282
DOI:
10.2196/mental.8471
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