Passive scrolling may increase risk of depression

Published 7 July 2023
- By Editorial Staff

Passive scrolling on social media may increase the risk of mental health problems and feelings of loneliness, according to a new study. However, posting your own content without interacting with others may reduce the risk of stress.

The study, published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology, sent a questionnaire to 288 people between the ages of 18 and 34 to find out about different social media behaviors and their impact on mental health.

The study looked at three different types of behavior: passive users, who only scroll through content posted by others; active unsocial, who post content but do not interact directly with other users; and active social, who both post their own content and interact with others.

The study found that increased passive use of social media was associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Meanwhile, active but unsocial use appears to have a positive effect on users’ stress, the Independent reports.

– Passive social media use does not provide opportunities for communication and self-disclosure which are known to promote connectedness and social support, says Dr. Constantina Panourgia of Bournemouth University in the UK. So, users may feel isolated and excluded, leading to exacerbated feelings of loneliness and consequently to increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

There is also a previous study that shows that body image and self-image can be improved in young people by reducing the use of social media.