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Social media linked to rise in mental health disorders in teens, survey finds



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4 March 201.11 GMT

of Shamard Charles, MD

Mental health problems have significantly increased over the last decade and the rise of digital media could be one of the reasons why, according to a national survey published Thursday.

The research, published by the American Psychological Association, found strong increases in the number of young adults and adolescents who reported having experienced negative psychological symptoms – particularly in those born in 1995 or later, known as iGen. Coincidentally, the biggest peak of symptoms occurred in 2011, at about the same time that social media burst onto the scene.

No corresponding increase was seen in the elderly

"We found a substantial increase in major depression or suicidal thoughts, psychological distress and more suicide attempts after 2010, in the mid-2000s, and that increase was by far the largest in adolescents and young adults, "said lead author Jean Twenge, author of the book" iGen "and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. "These trends are weak or non-existent among adults aged 26 and older, suggesting a generational change in mood disorders instead of a general increase across all ages."

Twenge and his team analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that investigated drug and alcohol use, mental health and other related issues to health in US individuals aged 12 and up since 1971. They have reviewed the responses of over 200,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017 and nearly 400,000 adults aged 18 to over 2008-2017.


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