The results published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research raise interesting questions about the nature of use of social networks and what could be driving a relationship that could be contributing to an alarming range of physical and mental health problems.
“The results showed that the amount of social media use, objectively assessed by a screen time app “Not only was it associated with greater inflammation at a single time point, but it also increased inflammation levels five weeks later,” said senior author David Lee, an assistant professor of communication in the U.S. College of Arts and Sciences. Buffalo.
“This study adds to the growing body of evidence pointing to the risks of spending too much time on social media and the domains that are affected,” Lee added.
In addition to representing the body’s response to injury and infection, explained as “acute inflammation,” “chronic inflammation” increases in response to common experiences such as stress, loneliness, diet, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep.
Chronic inflammation may not be visible like acute inflammation, but it is detectable in the blood by measuring levels of the biomarker C-reactive protein. Chronic inflammation and its long-term effects are linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health conditions.
In the study, Lee explored social media use, inflammation, and possible links to depression.
“It turns out that social media use predicts higher levels of inflammation later.”
Lee said the study also assesses the effects of social media use, measured objectively using a screen time app rather than relying on participants’ memory of how much time they spent on social media.
“Studies show that people may not always remember exactly how much time they spent on the different types of social media apps they use daily. This can be problematic if you are interested in understanding the effects of screen time on social media. “says Lee.
“By using the screen time app, we have more confidence in the relationship between the amount of social media use and inflammation, which is also robust against any error or bias in the survey response because it was obtained at through the blood.”