Social Media May Reduce Risk of Depression in Elderly
A study conducted at the University of Alabama found that Internet and social media users over the age of 50 may have lower risk of depression compared to people who do not engage in the same activity.
Sociologist Shelia Cotton, author of the study, analyzed survey results from 8,000 men and women over the age of 50 and found that those using the Internet and social media are less likely to suffer from depression. Although it wasn’t the first study to evaluate the mental health issues of older people using the Internet and social media, Cotton’s findings demonstrated how social media helps reduce the feelings of social isolation in elderly.
According to a separate research from the Pew Research Center, the use of social media and the Internet has significantly increased in three years, and of the Internet users over the age of 65, about 6% are using Twitter. Through social media and the Internet, older adults, particularly those with impaired mobility, are able to stay in contact with friends and family, as well as expand their social circles.
Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. In the United States alone, an estimated 1 in 10 adults report depression, and people aged 45-64 are said to be among the most vulnerable in developing the illness.
The new study, to be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also revealed that lack of knowledge of the Internet and/or access to the Internet is the main reason other adults are not participating in social media websites or surfing the web.Tags: depression in elderly, depression in older adults, social media for adults