, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 295-304,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Aug 2011

A Pilot Evaluation of Associations Between Displayed Depression References on Facebook and Self-reported Depression Using a Clinical Scale

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine associations between displayed depression symptoms on Facebook and self-reported depression symptoms using a clinical screen. Public Facebook profiles of undergraduates from two universities were examined for displayed depression references. Profiles were categorized as depression symptom displayers or non-displayers. Participants completed an online PHQ-9 depression scale. Analyses examined associations between PHQ-9 score and depression symptom displayers versus non-displayers. The mean PHQ-9 score for non-displayers was 4.7 (SD = 4.0), the mean PHQ-9 score for depression symptom displayers was 6.4 (SD = 5.1; p = 0.018). A trend approaching significance was noted that participants who scored into a depression category by their PHQ-9 score were more likely to display depression symptom references. Displayed references to depression symptoms were associated with self-reported depression symptoms.