Age differences in links between social media use and mental health : results from a national sample of U.S. adults.


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Now more than ever, American adults are using social networking sites (SNS). While many studies have examined associations between SNS use and mental health among children and adolescents, few studies have considered potential age differences in SNS use effects. Drawing on nationally representative data collected by Gallup in 2017 (N=1501), I examined associations between time spent on SNS and users’ depression and anxiety as well as perceptions of how the Internet affects their social relationships. I also assessed the potential moderating role of age for these associations. Results show that SNS use is unrelated to users’ depression or anxiety once adjusting for demographic background, but is related to perceived positive effects on one’s social relationships. Meanwhile, I find no significant age differences in these associations, suggesting that while older adults use SNS less often, they are influenced by SNS in ways similar to younger individuals.



SNS. Mental health. Older adults. Age difference.