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Limiting Social Media May Improve Psychological Well-Being

Limiting exposure to 30 minutes per day cut loneliness and depression in undergraduates

FRIDAY, Nov. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Melissa G. Hunt, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomly assigned 143 undergraduate students to limit Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat use to 10 minutes per platform per day or use social media as usual for three weeks.

The researchers found that the limited-use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression for three weeks compared with the control group. Analyses revealed no significant differences between the two groups in interpersonal support, fear of missing out, anxiety, self-esteem, and psychological well-being. However, the researchers observed a small but statistically significant decrease for both groups in fear of missing out as well as a small decrease in anxiety in both groups. The researchers noted these results suggest a benefit of increased self-monitoring.

“These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study,” Hunt said in a statement.

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