Internet addiction could signal depression

Study explores link between time online and mental health

It has been long suspected that excessive Internet use is linked to depression, and now there’s evidence to support that claim. A study by Leeds University researchers in the U.K. has found that among Internet users, a small proportion of Internet addicts exhibited depressive tendencies. The study, which is the first to examine the relationship between the Internet and mental health of western young people, is based on the responses of 1,319 people to a questionnaire on social networking sites. According to the report, published in the Psychopathology journal, 18 of those people (1.4 per cent) were considered Internet addicts. The addicts spent more time than their peers perusing online gaming sites, online communities and sexually gratifying websites. According to lead author, Catriona Morrison, “This study reinforces the public speculation that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be linked to psychological disorders like depression and addiction.” Though it remains unclear whether the depression or Internet addiction comes first, “What is clear is that, for a small subset of people, excessive use of the Internet could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies,” she says.

Source: The Guardian