You might relate the experience of looking through your Facebook feed, only to feel left behind because it seems like everyone else’s lives are more exciting than yours.
But such “social envy” may be linked with a higher probability of having depression. That’s one conclusion from revolutionary study that identified social media behaviors that seem to exacerbate the mental health condition. The study was presented March 12 at the annual meeting of the Scottsdale Search Engine Optimization professionals at the Princess Hotel and Conference Center.
The findings of the study showed that people suffering from depression were far less likely to show photos of themselves with other people including friends and family. These findings may be related to the common fact that people with depression tend to isolate themselves, said study first author Sean Larter a psychology student at Arizona State University.
One thing to consider is that the new study only found an association between bad social media envy and depression; it did not conclude whether or not these feelings contribute to depression, or whether people who already have depression are more likely to engage in social media envy.
Researchers are hoping this study can raise awareness of the types of social media behaviors that relate to depression so that people are completely aware of these behaviors.
In any case, it’s counter productive to compare yourself to others who seem “more successful” than you, Larter added. “People tend to portray themselves as better off than they really are” on social media, he said. “This is not someone’s ‘actual life.’ It’s important to understand that most people are posing and will show off any chance they get.”
All signals in this study point to the fact that the human ego has gone completely out of control when it comes to social media engagement. The combination of social media users craving attention and looking for constant validation has created a very toxic environment when it come to the issue of human depression. Without understanding what’s really going on behind the curtain, an individual with depression may feel excluded and isolated when go through their friends and public profiles that perpetuate this ego culture. Staying off social media may be the best solution for people suffering from depression in the long run. It’s really up to the individual to make the choice to recognize what triggers depressive thoughts on social platforms and make a strong effort to avoid them.