Saturday, January 12, 2019

Anxiety and Depression Associated with Technology Use

Symptoms of internet withdrawal -- increased anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate -- are close to what drug addicts experience, according to a study by researchers at Swansea University and Milan University. Participants in the study reported spending an average of five hours a day online with most of that time spent on social media sites. The findings suggest that long term utilization of ICTs as an emotional coping strategy may have a negative influence on mental health and/or exacerbate mental health predispositions.

Other key takeaways from this study include:

-       High engagement with cell phones and internet is linked with anxiety and depression.
-       Using devices to alleviate boredom is not associated with anxiety and depression.
-       Using devices for emotional coping is associated with anxiety and depression.
-       Mobile phones may provide a “security blanket effect” in anxiety-inducing situations.
-       Path of short-term stress was almost the same irrespective of coping mechanism used.

Panova, T., & Lleras, A. (2016). Avoidance or boredom: Negative mental health outcomes associated with use of information and communication technologies depend on users’ motivations. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 249-258.

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