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August 09, 2015

Study links social media use and teen mental health issues

Research suggests youths who use sites often more likely to need support

A new study connects the use of social media among teenagers and mental health issues. 

The study, conducted by researchers at Ottawa Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, surveyed 753 students from grades 7-12. 

Of the students surveyed, about 25 percent reported using social networking sites more than two hours a day while about 55 percent said they used them less than that. About 20 percent reported using the sites infrequently or not at all. 

According to the researchers, those students who said they used social networking sites more than 2 hours a day were more likely to report unmet needs for mental health support than those who didn't. 

Those teens who reported using social media more frequently not only had poorer self-reported states of mental health but were also more likely to experience psychological distress or suicidal thoughts. 

The researchers note that youths who experience mental health issues may use social networking sites to seek interaction and support, and that more work needed to be done to define the relationship between social media and adolescents. 

Read more from the study, published in July, here

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