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Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Jul 16;32:89-94. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.06.036. [Epub ahead of print]

Why increases in adolescent depression may be linked to the technological environment.

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1
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4611, United States. Electronic address: jtwenge@sdsu.edu.

Abstract

Between 2011 and 2018, rates of depression, self-harm, and suicide attempts increased substantially among U.S. adolescents. The most probable cause(s) of these trends likely 1) began or accelerated during these years, 2) affected a large number of people, 3) impacted everyday life, and 4) were associated with depression. In several large studies, heavy users of technology are twice as likely as light users to be depressed or have low well-being. Cohort declines in face-to-face social interaction may also impact even non-users of digital media. Thus, although technology use is not the cause of most depression, increased time spent on technology and the technological environment may be causes of the sudden increase in depression since 2011.

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