HealthDay News — High levels of social media interaction in early adolescence may have negative implications for later well-being and happiness in girls, according to a study published online March 20 in BMC Public Health.
Cara L. Booker, PhD, from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 5 waves of the youth questionnaire, Understanding Society. Social media interaction was measured by daily frequency of chatting on social websites, while well-being was evaluated by happiness within 6 domains of life and via the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
The researchers found that there are gender differences in the relationship between interacting on social media and well-being. Among females, there were significant correlations between interacting on social media and well-being. For females, higher social media interaction at age 10 was associated with declines in well-being later on, but this interaction was not seen among males. Results were similar for both measures of well-being.
“High levels of social media interaction in early adolescence have implications for well-being in later adolescence, particularly for females. The lack of an association among males suggests other factors might be associated with their reduction in well-being with age,” the authors write. “These findings contribute to the debate on causality and may inform future policy and interventions.”