Social Media May Help With Mental Health Issues In Older Adults

The world today has a number of new health challenges. One of them is mental health issues. According to the data on mental problems, there is a big rise in its cases. More and more people are getting a diagnosis every other day.

The reasons for this happening are multiple. They may range from other general health issues to stressful lifestyles and jobs. Young people in modern times are said to be subject to the greatest number of mental health issues.

However, in the midst of concentration on the younger generation, many often ignore the older ones. There also seems to be more cases among older adults. This particularly includes people living after retirement.

Many factors come into play while explaining the mental problems of older adults. For example, the rise of ageism, social isolation, and inability to adapt to technology are some of them. To tackle this problem, the best solution is to probably do an activity which allows more socialization.

Interestingly, a new study offers a new method to tackle the issue – by using social media. In consonance with the research, social media negatively affects the lives of most people.

The new research, however, gives a very contrasting opinion especially when it comes to older adults. The study was conducted by a professor of media and information – Keith Hampton. He currently teaches at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The findings of the study are in the journal Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Read the study here.

Social Media May Help With Mental Health Issues In Older Adults
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What Was the Research Methodology?

Prof. Hampton states that his research is different mainly due to his target audience. He says that the gap in the previous research exists because all of them are on young people.

In addition, he explains that problems in younger people may be because of other problems. For instance, most of the young people go through emotional ups and downs. Prof. Hampton says that this, rather than social media may be majorly responsible for mental health problems.

RELATED: Social Media May Lead Children To Eat More 

Because of labeling social media inherently bad, it may ignore its positive effects. For example, better communication, access to education, and awareness are some of its effects.

Panel Study of Income Dynamics is large-scale research on the household survey. Prof. Hampton used data from this study. He particularly looks at the answers of participants on the use of social media.

In total, Prof. Hampton was able to look at data from 5,129 participants of the study. Another thing he looked at was social causation.

Social causation is the factors that the participants have no control over. Previously, this had not been considered in any research. Examples of social causation include lower levels of education and social class.

What Was the Result?

Contrary to previous conclusions, this research shows a positive effect of social media. Around sixty-three percent of the people who used social media were less likely to have mental health issues than those who did not.

In older adults, this was more apparent. According to Prof. Hampton, this is because of easier communication. Different social media websites make it easier for people to stay in touch with family members.

A constant presence of these social media sites is necessary in today’s world. As said by Prof. Hampton, these may actually be helpful for people to maintain their mental health especially older adults.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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