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Young Adult Depression and Anxiety Linked to Social Media Use: Assessment and Treatment


Studies suggest that more 30% of college students are currently depressed. A small but growing body of literature suggests that young adults’ social media use correlates with their depressive and anxious symptomology. As many as 90% of young adults use social media currently, compared to just 12.5% in 2005. Further, more than a quarter of college students report spending at least six hours per week on social media, compared to only 18.9% in 2007. Smartphone use within young adult populations also is extremely high: estimates of undergraduate smartphone ownership appear to be as high as 97%. Collectively, these trends suggest that social media and smartphones play an integral role in the routines and culture of young adults. The authors present the existing research linking social media use with depression and anxiety and utilize a case study to illuminate the relationship between young adult depression, anxiety, and social media use. The article provides clear recommendations for the assessment and treatment of social media use in depressed and anxious young adults.

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Bettmann, J.E., Anstadt, G., Casselman, B. et al. Young Adult Depression and Anxiety Linked to Social Media Use: Assessment and Treatment. Clin Soc Work J (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-020-00752-1

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  • College student
  • Young adult
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social media
  • Fear of missing out