DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastImpact of Social Media on Mental Health
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Update: 2019-10-221


434- Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC

Executive Director:

Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast, Case Management Toolbox

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– Examine the extent of social media use

– Explore the positive and negative impacts of social media on mental and physical health

– Identify resiliency factors

What Research Tells Us

– The number of social media accounts is moderately correlated inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, ODD, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, as well as fear of missing out (FoMO) and loneliness.

– Chicken/Egg-

What Research Tells Us

– Internet use in general significantly affects participation in IRL experiences.

– Increased time spent online is related to

– A decline in communication with family members (or inadequate support to begin with)

– Reduction of the internet user's social circle

– Reduction in sleep

– Increased feelings of depression and loneliness

– Chicken or egg

– Internet cause or ancillary behaviors cause-

What Research Tells Us

– People spend the majority of their time on SNS looking at peers’ profiles and photos, rather than posting or updating their own profiles

– Computer-mediated communication may lead to the mistaken impressions about physical appearance, educational level, success, intelligence, moral integrity, and happiness of other people, thus increasing depression.

– Constant self-evaluation and competition with other users, incorrectly perceiving characteristics of others and feelings of jealousy may positively or negatively influence self-esteem.

What Research Tells Us

– Technology-based Social Comparison and Feedback-Seeking (SCFS) was found to be associated with depressive symptoms when comparing people with similar levels of overall frequencies of technology use, offline Excessive Reassurance-Seeking (ERS), and prior depressive symptoms

– Stronger associations between technology-based SCFS and depressive symptoms for unpopular individuals

– May increase FoMo

– Allows for unhealthy perseveration

What Research Tells Us

– Higher psychological distress was associated with displaying depression language on Facebook and with less satisfaction with friend’s responses

– Depression was negatively correlated with how much social support participants thought they received from their Facebook networks

– Sudden cessation of online social networking (i.e., lack of Internet connection) may in some chronic users cause signs and symptoms of psychological withdrawal

– Some researchers identify that due to the wide array of activities available on SNS, it is difficult to conclude which parts contribute to preoccupation and withdrawal (gaming, FoMo, attention etc…)


– Easily reach millions of people with information to improve their health literacy

– Increase health-related behaviors through gamification and social support (Garmin,, SparkPeople)

– Allows for potential screening and early identification of problems #bigbrother

– May bring to light conversations and behaviors that existed all along IRL

– Increases communication with IRL friends at a distance

Resiliency Factors

– IRL support

– Self esteem

– A sense of belonging

– Self-awareness

– Effective communication skills

– Psychological flexibility

– Alternate sources of validation

– Understanding of the algorithms on SNS

– Fewer stranger connections


– What social media factors influence depression/anxiety in people

– Number of likes

– Whether it appears other people are happier, more successful or more popular

– Check-ins during extended absences

– Comments (support, flaming, disinhibition)

– Public presentation vs. reality

– Other factors contributing factors

– Pre-existing mood disorders

– Insufficient/ineffective IRL supports


– Social media itself is not necessarily harmful

– Social media can provide opportunities for positive interactions

– People’s reaction to social media

– May mirror their IRL activities like excessive attention seeking

– May be the opposite of RL presenting an idealized self which then makes them feel even more isolated









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Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Charles Snipes