Social media use linked with depression, secondary trauma during COVID-19

Cannot cease checking social media for the newest COVID-19 well being info? You would possibly need to take a break, based on researchers at Penn State and Jinan College who found that extreme use of social media for COVID-19 well being info is said to each melancholy and secondary trauma.

“We discovered that social media use was rewarding up to some extent, because it offered informational, emotional and peer help associated to COVID-19 well being subjects,” mentioned Bu Zhong, affiliate professor of journalism, Penn State. “Nevertheless, extreme use of social media led to psychological well being points. The outcomes indicate that taking a social media break could promote well-being throughout the pandemic, which is essential to mitigating psychological well being hurt inflicted by the pandemic.”

The examine, which revealed on-line on Aug. 15 within the journal Computer systems in Human Conduct, included 320 contributors dwelling in city districts of Wuhan, China. In February 2020, the crew gave the contributors an internet survey that investigated how they accessed and shared well being info with members of the family, pals and colleagues on social media, particularly WeChat, China’s hottest social media cellular app.

The crew used an instrument created to measure Fb dependancy to evaluate contributors’ use of WeChat. Utilizing a 5-point Likert-type scale, starting from strongly disagree to strongly agree, the survey assessed contributors’ views of WeChat in offering them with informational, emotional and peer help. The survey additionally assessed contributors’ well being conduct adjustments on account of utilizing social media.

Statements associated to informational help included, “I exploit WeChat to achieve details about find out how to handle the coronavirus epidemic,” and “If I’ve a query or need assistance associated to the coronavirus epidemic, I can normally discover the solutions on WeChat.” Statements associated to emotional help included, “My stress ranges go down whereas I am participating with others on WeChat,” and “The well being info on WeChat helps me alleviate emotions of loneliness.” Statements associated to look help included, “I exploit WeChat to share sensible recommendation and strategies about managing the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I’ve used a number of the info I realized from WeChat pals as a part of my administration methods for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.”

The survey additionally investigated contributors’ well being conduct adjustments associated to the usage of WeChat, asking them to fee statements resembling, “The well being info on WeChat has modified lots of my well being behaviors, resembling however not restricted to sporting face masks, utilizing sanitizer, or washing arms.”

To evaluate melancholy, the researchers used a 21-item Despair Nervousness Stress Scale through which contributors rated statements resembling, “I could not appear to expertise any constructive feeling in any respect,” and “I felt that life was meaningless.”

In line with Zhong, secondary trauma refers back to the behaviors and feelings ensuing from data a few traumatizing occasion skilled by a major different. Utilizing the Secondary Trauma Stress Scale, the researchers requested respondents to fee statements resembling, “My coronary heart began pounding after I thought in regards to the coronavirus epidemic,” and “I had disturbing goals in regards to the coronavirus epidemic.”

“We discovered that the Wuhan residents obtained great informational and peer help however barely much less emotional help once they accessed and shared well being details about COVID-on WeChat,” mentioned Zhong. “The contributors additionally reported a collection of well being conduct adjustments, resembling elevated hand washing and use of face masks.

Greater than half of the respondents reported some stage of melancholy, with almost 20% of them struggling average or extreme melancholy. Among the many respondents who reported secondary trauma, the bulk reported a low (80%) stage of trauma, whereas fewer reported average (13%) and excessive (7%) ranges of trauma. Not one of the contributors reported having any depressive or traumatic problems earlier than the survey was carried out.

“Our outcomes present that social media utilization was associated to each melancholy and secondary trauma throughout the early a part of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan,” mentioned Zhong. “The findings recommend that taking a social media break sometimes could assist to enhance individuals’s psychological well-being throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Different authors on the paper embrace Yakun Huang and Qian Liu of Jinan College.

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