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Social media study: Depressive symptoms decrease with age, but does depression?

Never judge a human by their social media behaviour

Nanda Das @nanda1das 7 May 2018, 6:48 PM
Your social media facade could be masking your mental health

Your social media facade could be masking your mental health Image: THINKSTOCK

Social media is a weird, weird place. What you see is almost always never true. And though we know this thumb rule about the virtual world, we end up believing what we see or read. 

So, that friend who keeps posting holiday pictures from exotic locations isn't really having a time of her life, or the one posting mushy deets about their love life probably has a crappy one to begin with. 

But turns out there's a flip side to it. While some tend to blow their lives out of proportion on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, those who're really in trouble tend to underplay it. 

Findings from a new study, to be presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2018 Meeting in Toronto, reveal that at-risk adolescents are less likely to post about depressive symptoms on social media as they age. And that basically means that while you're feeling envious of your friend's holiday pictures, you're ignoring another friend who could really use your support. 

Dr Kathleen Miller, one of the authors of the study, says, "This may be related to the development of the prefrontal cortex which plays a role in inhibiting impulsive decisions." While that's great news — they're getting older and more rational — it also makes it that much more difficult to spot. 

So the next time your forever cribber friend stops sharing posts that read like "Basically at the point of giving up" or "Feeling the worst right now, just wanting to cry," maybe it's time to DM them and ask if they want to talk.

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