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Media Medicine Science

Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-tv-and-my-tablet-and-my-ereader-disagree dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "A new study (abstract) from Michigan State University shows that media multitasking exhibits a strong correlation with social anxiety and depression. Importantly, the direction of causality remains to be seen: Does multi-tasking make us more anxious and depressed? Or, as the study's leader, Mark W. Becker, an assistant professor of psychology, put it in an email, 'are depressed and anxious [people] turning toward media multitasking as a form of distraction?' The results of this study aren't conclusive in that regard, he says. But they're an important step. 'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."
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Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety

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  • by PopAndGame (2790489) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:27PM (#42218677)
    There was this old study on how using multiple tabs while browsing means you're depressed. It basically said girls are more normal in this regard because they just have their Facebook page open and AT MOST browse just one other website for reading. At the same time nerds were thought depressed because they couldn't keep themselves on one page but kept switching to many different pages, on tabs. Might have some truth to reality, especially if looking at the geeks I know.
    • by Dupple (1016592) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:35PM (#42218789)

      Watching old Dr Whofrom the 80's and commenting on /. From my phone. I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but that behaviour is pretty sad!

      • by Zordak (123132)
        That's just sad. How can posting on /. be even momentarily more interesting than old Dr. Who from the 80s? Unless you're watching Colin Baker, in which case I can understand it.
        • by Dupple (1016592) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:47PM (#42218939)

          Trial of a time lord - Colin baker. My only defence is Peri

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            Sophie Aldred was a much better excuse to watch Dr Who.

      • by martas (1439879)
        For a moment there I thought Dr Whofrom was some German scientist that did an educational TV show in the 80s.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or perhaps it is because the smart people see how much of a depressing shithole the world is and the "ignorance is bliss" types don't?

      They live in their little closed-off worlds (facebook, quite literally), while the geeks all read about, well, shit like this, on our slashdot, instead of the new galactic empire agreements between 2 civilizations or how our new Titan-base got a new colony established, or to be more (sadly) realistic, the new processors from Intel or how much more Microsoft is suffering for d

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:45PM (#42219649)

      I don't really get what's unexpected about this. One of the well known effects of depression is a lack of interest in, well... anything. People who are depressed go out desperately searching for things that interest them, generally not finding it. Surely both having multiple tabs open, and trying to watch TV at the same time as reading shit on the internet is simply a symptom of that search for something to care about.

      That is, my hypothesis is that the causation is depression causes multitasking for information... Not multitasking with media causes depression.

      • desperately searching for things that interest them, generally not finding it

        No, you don't get it. We need distraction.

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        because it doesn't follow.. There are many reasons why someone might have multiple tabs open, flip through tv channels, or tracks on his music player.. It'st he old correlation without causation routine.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Usually I'll only be using one tab. The first thing I do when I install seamonkey/firefox is turn tab auto-hide back on.

      Tabs generally only get opened if I need to have multiple references open... or if I'm looking at something like a forum index, I'll open each thread I'm going to want to look at in a new tab.

      I'll then start going through the tabs one by one, closing them as I finish with them - finally back at only one or two open, which again tend to be things like indexes.

      Is this an unusual usage patter

      • by satuon (1822492)

        I often use tabs, but not for multitasking - because going back does not preserve the state correctly in complex pages, so it's better to open a link in a new tab, read it, and then close it, than to open it in the same page and then do Alt+Left.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:02PM (#42220339)
      I'm just going to throw this out there... since I don't have any points to mod down

      Internet habits can be an expression of mental state... but let's think about this... so IS EVERYTHING ELSE. Your style of clothes, mannerisms, speech patterns, ALL of those stem from mental state. I can have 20-30 tabs open at a time while I'm writing code, does that make me depressed? no, paid? yes.

      Some people put the TV on to say drown out external noise and then focus in on what they're doing on their computer, a TV is easier to focus with than the contractor's saw at your neighbor's house.

      I can go on and on with examples, but let's just say these studies have no merit.
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      correlation without causation.. So I guess researchers with multiple books open were also depressed too? How about people who skip around tracks on their music players? How about people who flip between tv channels to watch multiple shows at once? seriously?

      This and the article represent horrible reasoning.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:36PM (#42218809)

    I strongly believe that the cause-effect relationship is that depressed/anxious people are using more social media. Why? It's an attempt to find something or someone worthwhile to alleviate the feelings of boredom and/or loneliness.

    Happy confident people will find some task or project or following and happily stick to it for a while. Depressed, lonely, scatterbrained people will turn to things like social media to try to find whatever it is that they don't know they're looking for.

    This is my belief..... of course, I might not know what I'm talking about.

    • From personal experience, if I'm feeling depressed then I spend more time on Facebook and less on everything else. If I'm feeling pretty good, I'll have Netflix and about two dozen websites of articles, games, etc open and forget all about social media sites.

      • by sinij (911942) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:07PM (#42219173) Journal
        Research shows that long-term even blind and quadriplegic people report average happiness. If we extrapolate these findings to your facebook predicament -it is likely that in the long run you will adapt to having your mother as the only facebook friend and will return to average happiness.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Let's just be clear. Depression and feeling depressed are not the same thing. They actually have little in common. Depression is a condition of extended psychomotor retardation that typically lasts 6 months if treated and 12 months if untreated. Many people with depression don't always feel sadness. In particular, men are more likely to be irritable than sad.

        I know that it is popular to compare depression with feeling down, grieving, disappointment, etc. This only does people with actual depression a disser

    • Of course my evidence doesn't mean anything since I have only my wife to "study". She has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

      It seems that she really has a problem with facebook, but she doesn't use multiple devices at the same time. I would second your belief.

    • Novelty induces dopamine release.

      Depression increases urge for dopamine.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:39PM (#42218845) Homepage Journal
    IANAPsychologist, but intuitively I suspect that there's some feedback going on. A person is unhappy or lonely, so he seeks stimulus from multiple media inputs to try to fill the emptiness. It's gratifying for a while, but he quickly reaches diminishing returns and the endorphin rush peters out. Then he feels more depressed and lonely, so he seeks even more stimulus, and so on.
    • by sinij (911942)
      Is IANAP a consequence of turning IANAL into IAAL?
      • No actually its because of the IAAL types that something that might be considered "Professional Advice" must be preceded with I Am Not A %Professional% to flag that this might be WRONG

        and besides with the IAAL types they will always say IAAL But Im Not YOUR Lawyer and may not even cover Your Case In Your Location.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When therapists are treating depression and other psychological problems, they recommend keeping video games, Internet and TV time down to a minimum. Some even put a time limit of 2 hours. Getting out and exercising and being face to face with people and doing meaningful work will help one with their depression and weight control.

  • ... what does this mean for "Multi-Media"... man's that's depressing.

  • Makes sense to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kid-noodle (669957) <jono AT nanosheep DOT net> on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:41PM (#42218865) Homepage
    So, with the big flashing red caveat that this is entirely anecdotal and drawn from personal experience, I recall 'spamming' my senses with as many inputs as possible (lying in bed simultaneously listening to music, a film on, reading a book, eating seriously high fat/salt/sugar foodstuffs, etc.) quite a lot while I was in the deeper throes of reasonably severe depression. Retrospectively it seems like an attempt to blot out as much of reality as I could, and drown out the sound of my own thoughts.
    Funny things, brains.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Damn. Now you're making me sad.

      (Says the AC who does pretty much the same thing for pretty much the same reason, I'm guessing.)

      • by kid-noodle (669957) <jono AT nanosheep DOT net> on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:59PM (#42219075) Homepage
        Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated and use the time you are medicated to do CBT (because the combination of the two has a good success rate), start jogging (because annoyingly, this too has a good success rate), eat more healthily (specific benefits of this are, I believe, a bit more contentious, but cooking properly is a great and positive activity irregardless), and while you're at it, identify what in your life and yourself you need to change to protect yourself from being depressed. Then use that to actually make the changes - this process took me about five years, but became progressively more worth it and easier. There's no magic bullet, it is hard work, and if you are susceptible to depression you probably need to keep at it in a small way forever.
        This doesn't work for everybody (some people do seem to just have bad chemistry), and really isn't easy, but it did for me.

        Perhaps the hardest bit is actually getting help in the first place, it took me months and the damage to my life was pretty extensive. Then one day I had a breakdown and sat weeping on my kitchen floor, because I couldn't cope with choosing between frozen pies for dinner and thought "Shit, I can't fix this by myself.". A mere three weeks later I'd actually gone to one of the several doctor's appointments I made.

        Anyway, I'm rambling. Don't spam your brain - do something about the sadness and pain.
        • Re:Makes sense to me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 07, 2012 @05:17PM (#42219951) Journal

          Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated

          Medication doesn't actually work for most people. A 2008 meta-analysis [plosmedicine.org] of all clinical trials involving SSRIs, including trials the author had to file FOIA requests to get, shows that SSRIs provide no clinically significant benefit to those with a Hamilton Rating [wikipedia.org] below 23. That's "very severe" depression. Side effects of course occur no matter how depressed you are.

          That was 4 years ago, no one has since refuted these findings. I've actually sought treatment for depression in the past couple years. I was given a score of 15 and was offered SSRIs. I asked the psychiatrist how she could ethically offer an addictive drug with many side effects when the best science available showed them to be no more effective than harmless glucose. She had no answer, except to say that in her experience they were effective. As if there was no reason to do blinded, placebo controlled studies.

          The only conclusion I can reach from this is that psychiatric treatment for depression in all but the most severe cases is a con. If you can still feed yourself, get your ass to work, and sleep at night there's nothing psychiatry can do for you. You might as well rub a crystal on your forehead.

          • I was at the time doing my degree in psychology, the consensus (at least here in the UK), was very clear - SSRIs can be very effective, but only in combination with counselling or something similar. Unfortunately, they don't get used like that. Counselling, and even relatively 'quick fix' type therapies like CBT are staggeringly expensive and time consuming vs. pills. Sadly this means the prescription is the solution option tends to win out.

            I do think there's a lot of debate to be had about the efficaciou
            • by Khyber (864651)

              "I would take issue with your last statement though - I don't think your assertion is logically sound."

              As a former lab rat of nearly 20 years (Ritalin, Adderal, Desipramine) I'm going to say you don't have the in-depth experience or education to be able to make your statement with any authority.

              It most certainly is a con. None of those things worked for me, and in fact made things worse.

              Enjoy your blown and overloaded endocannabinoid system.

              • I'm sure your anecdotal experience trumps mine, is it a particularly useful (or even interesting) dialogue to have though?
                I'm not a psychologist, and I would assume my undergraduate courses on abnormal psychology whatnot are out of date (I'd hope so, otherwise progress has been very slow). My criticism of your 'psychiatric treatment for depression is a con bunk' remark relates only to what seems rather an overgeneralisation in saying that since a particular psychiatric treatment didn't work in your case, a
                • by Khyber (864651)

                  You didn't offend, but your comment does show (yes, USA) that you aren't educated enough about the issue over here. While the general gist (over-proscribed) is correct, it's actually much much worse. The pharmaceutical companies basically pay shrinks to use these new medications and push them as hard as they can, consequences be damned.

              • by swalve (1980968)
                Then you don't have the condition those drugs treat. Don't blame the drugs.
                • by Khyber (864651)

                  No, I had the condition. The problem was they were throwing me on these drugs starting at age 5 or 6. That totally threw my body way out of whack. a nasty hit of antidepressants plus amphetamines. My endocannabinoid system is blown to the point where even the best weed doesn't get me high, it just puts me at a stable level and barely manages constant pain I have from having implanted skeletal parts.

                  • by swalve (1980968)
                    Stimulants have nothing to do with the endocannabinoid system.
                    • by Khyber (864651)

                      Stimulants have plenty to do with the endocannabinoid system. But you wouldn't know since it seems you failed basic biology.

            • by Hatta (162192)

              I was at the time doing my degree in psychology, the consensus (at least here in the UK), was very clear - SSRIs can be very effective

              That may be the consensus, but the science says otherwise.

              I would take issue with your last statement though - I don't think your assertion is logically sound.

              Please point out the fallacy. What honest explanation is there for the incongruity between the science and psychiatric practice?

              • Bugger, I responded to the wrong person, sorry about that.

                Medication isn't identical with psychiatric treatment, I think would sum up my objection here. Although I suppose there's no particular argument here, I'm not suggesting (nor was it suggested in my lectures), that people who aren't severely depressed should be taking SSRIs, or anything else for that matter. With hindsight I can see that my initial remark to AC #1 was rather flippant in that respect, which was silly of me.

                Besides, the consensus as
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The more and more research you do into anti-depressants the more and more harmful they appear to be. I've been depressed for over 16 years (~10 to 26) and have attempted suicide a couple times (left the result up to chance and got lucky). Last year I finally when in for a free session and got diagnosed with double-depression, among other things. I hate taking meds/drugs. I spent all summer researching depression in an attempt to convince myself to start anti-depressants this fall. Instead it convinced

            • I think that's perhaps a rather pessimistic view! Any intervention to the brain, chemical or physical, should not be taken lightly, and those available are not exactly precision tools. The full impacts of SSRIs and other anti-depressants vary substantially between them, not to mention between people and I think that very few people (who aren't idiots, or dubiously motivated) would suggest that they are anything other than a short term, emergency intervention to be used to get people to a place where they ca
          • Medication doesn't actually work for most people. A 2008 meta-analysis [plosmedicine.org] of all clinical trials involving SSRIs, including trials the author had to file FOIA requests to get, shows that SSRIs provide no clinically significant benefit to those with a Hamilton Rating [wikipedia.org] below 23.

            A good place to start would be to find a doctor who prescribes the right medication for the right symptoms. SSRI's are quite effective when it comes to fighting anxiety. For depression, try something like Wellbutrin, which is a dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.

        • by Khyber (864651)

          "use the time you are medicated to do CBT"

          Being medicated is probably the best time for cock and ball torture anyways.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I resorted to the same thing just to avoid the "feeling" of depression, eventually included self-harm in order to feel anything. Any stimulus. The numbing effect of depression was unbearable, and unsurprising, the numbing effect of anti-depressants made it worse.

      However, I'm happy to report everything is back to normal in my life. I have the occasional relapse, but I have an excellent support (friends and family). I also try to make an effort to make real life social interactions instead of electronic. It's

      • by kid-noodle (669957) <jono AT nanosheep DOT net> on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:09PM (#42219203) Homepage
        Good for you!
        I was extremely leery of anti-depressants, but I suspect without them I would in fact be dead. They made me feel a whole other kind of awful (shakes, nausea, no libido, etc. ad nauseam), but did get me to a point where I could actively work on healing myself, and changing my life to protect me in future. I was able to cope without them after not so long - they should in almost all cases be used like a splint for the brain, and discarded when some semblance of normal neurochemistry is restored.
        • Re:Makes sense to me (Score:5, Informative)

          by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:36PM (#42219525)
          I went through numerous prescription AD and they all made a bad situation worse. Then I discovered 5-HTP. [wikipedia.org] I noticed improvement after the very first dose. Obviously everyone is going to be different but for anyone going through depression I recommend giving it a try.
          • by swalve (1980968)
            Be careful with that stuff, the crash if you miss a dose can be brutal.
            • by ArhcAngel (247594)
              Funny you mention that. I ran out 2 days ago and haven't made it to the store. And yes I have noticed.
              • by cffrost (885375)

                I noticed improvement after the very first dose [of 5-Hydroxytryptophan].

                Be careful with that stuff, the crash if you miss a dose can be brutal.

                I ran out 2 days ago and haven't made it to the store. And yes I have noticed.

                Am I correct in speculating that the withdrawal presents as a rapid, dysphoric return of depression symptoms—perhaps worse in intensity than their initial/untreated state?

                The reason I'm curious is that that is exactly what I experience following cessation of the prescribed tricyclic imipramine (Tofranil) [wikipedia.org], which is—by far—the most efficacious of the numerous anti-depressants (belonging to three classes) that I've tried. The only other AD that I didn't shit-can posthaste was bupropion (Wellb [wikipedia.org]

                • by ArhcAngel (247594)

                  withdrawal presents as a rapid, dysphoric return of depression symptoms—perhaps worse in intensity than their initial/untreated state?

                  Initially yes. I wasn't expecting it but I caught myself being very emotional and realized that must be what it was. It leveled off rather quickly. The Wiki in my OP explains how 5-HTP is able to absorb into the brain and become 5-HT or Serotonin. [wikipedia.org] Interestingly 5-HT cannot be absorbed into the brain. Since Serotonin is linked to mood it makes sense an increased level would have a positive effect.

                  • by cffrost (885375)

                    withdrawal presents as a rapid, dysphoric return of depression symptoms—perhaps worse in intensity than their initial/untreated state?

                    Initially yes. I wasn't expecting it but I caught myself being very emotional and realized that must be what it was. It leveled off rather quickly. The Wiki in my OP explains how 5-HTP is able to absorb into the brain and become 5-HT or Serotonin. [wikipedia.org] Interestingly 5-HT cannot be absorbed into the brain. Since Serotonin is linked to mood it makes sense an increased level would have a positive effect.

                    Interestingly 5-HT cannot be absorbed into the brain. Since Serotonin is linked to mood it makes sense an increased level would have a positive effect.

                    I was surprised to see that 5-HTP is categorized as a sleep-aid anda nootropic, what with the former class being generally dominated by stimulants.

                    I'm actually replying because I neglected to mention my main reason for speculating that the crash was fast and severe: Unlike SSRIs with their multiple-week delay before they (are supposed to) become effective, and bupropion (which has a somewhat quicker, but rather subtle effect), imipramine is profoundly effective beginning on day one. Sometimes when I get to

    • by Kaenneth (82978)

      My favorite was listening to Monty Python tapes at dubbing speed.

      Twice as many jokes per minute, and extra silly voices.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh, darn. I was doing other things and I didn't post in time.

    Missing out on a FP is making me depressed.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:44PM (#42218907) Homepage
    It's really nice to see an article on correlation without invalid conclusions of causation. This means that /. readers are more scientifically literate than the rest of the world.
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      wat? it is a prime example of that.. there are plenty of reasons someone might have multiple tabs open in a browser, skip through multiple tracks on his music player, or flip through channels on the tv tracking multiple shows.. It doesn't mean they are depressed.

  • by hamjudo (64140) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:50PM (#42218973) Homepage Journal
    Depressed people are also likely to self medicate with cigarettes or alcohol. And using cigarettes or alcohol sometimes leads to depression. In some people, it leads to a positive feedback loop.
    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      In some people, it leads to a positive feedback loop.

      It doesn't sound very positive to me. *Rimshot*

      • by ewhenn (647989)
        A positive feedback loop sounds great... in my bank account!
        • by timeOday (582209)
          There used to be such a thing. Ask your grandparents about the "magic of compounding interest" sometime. If you bought a home, or property, or some stocks in postwar America, you made a lot of money over time, pretty much automatically.
          • by niado (1650369)

            There used to be such a thing. Ask your grandparents about the "magic of compounding interest" sometime. If you bought a home, or property, or some stocks in postwar America, you made a lot of money over time, pretty much automatically.

            This is pretty much the case now. As long as one isn't speculating, real estate and the stock market are still quite lucrative over the long-term.

    • by arielCo (995647) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:05PM (#42219145)

      'What are you doing here?' he said to the drunkard whom he found sitting silently in front of a collection of bottles, some empty and some full.
      'I am drinking,' answered the drunkard lugubriously.
      'Why are you drinking?' the little prince asked.
      'In order to forget,' replied the drunkard.
      'To forget what?' enquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
      'To forget that I am ashamed,' the drunkard confesed, hanging his head.
      'Ashamed of what?' asked the little prince who wanted to help him.
      'Ashamed of drinking!' concluded the drunkard, withdrawing into total silence.
      And the little prince went away, puzzled.
      'Grown-ups really are very, very odd,' he said to himself as he continued his journey.

      The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    • by Fritzed (634646)
      It's also worth noting there could very well be no causality at all. It's certainly possible that certain personality traits could cause social anxiety and the drive to multiple forms of media.

      In fact, I would hazard to guess that it is more likely both of these things are effects of an unidentified cause and not things that are causing one another.
  • Slashdot is my only bookmark and the only website I visit, and as a result it is the only type of media I consume and there is no reason to multitask.

    Am I finally ready for happiness?
  • I read this as I am listening to Pantera, with Facebook, Slashdot, personal e-mail, and work e-mail in opened windows while doing Math homework. Apparently I am on the verge of suicide, based on this article.

  • I always have the T.V. going when on the computer, heck it's never off. I have no mental health issues, nor depressed or anxious. I am on the other hand very ADHD. I've found I don't watch T.V. much, so don't have cable or satellite payments, just what's over the air (THIStv and MEtv mostly). I'll be playing Battlefield 3 and find I've been watching a Spanish station (for example) the last 3 hours and not even noticed. I'm always on the internet, but don't do the social sites, I have a 5 year old twitte
  • So most people that watch say... a music video... are depressed or anxious?

    Sounds legit.
  • "'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."

    This must be fake! Or at least it is the first time I hear a psychologist speaking of causal directions. Is sound like a good study just because of that caveat.

    There may be progress in this world!

  • ...is not an excuse to trot out lazy memes.
  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@gma i l .com> on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:14PM (#42219277) Homepage Journal

    I'd say this is pseudoscience but...I'm trying not to feed my inner troll...

    This is definitely shoddy science work. Their definition of 'media' is one of many examples...

    I've researched media usage, media usefulness, geospatial correlations, etc. in an academic setting and the definition this study uses for 'media' is...depressingly narrow.

    'media' is a book, billboard...anything that has symbols. Usually researchers narrow the language to 'digital media'...but that requires a more refined, less salacious theory...which doesn't get headlines.

    Don't even get me started on how research studies like this use the word 'multitasking'

    Look, IAAS and this research is garbage...move along...

  • Trying time and again to find anything worthwhile and only finding boring, meaningless drivel instead of content, but keeping trying in the vain hope to get something sensible after some digging, that's what makes me anxious and depressed.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:35PM (#42219513)

    Slashdot depresses me. So does CNN, Redit... It's like a trifecta of misery. I try to keep Pandora open to cheer me up but then it decides to play me a Metallica song and I'm right back to being miserable.

  • by meetpi (2776369) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:40PM (#42219577)

    Given that I can't afford to pay the publisher's ludicrous $51 for 24 hours access to this paper, I have to glean information about the study from the abstract and summaries.

    This study is, at best, a preliminary study. The researchers use a small sample size which they generalise to a large population (they sample 319 people) and they are not using a random sample (they used college undergrads, presumably self-selected). So, basically, what this tells us is that there is some correlation between certain kinds of media use behaviours with *possibly* depressed/anxious undergraduates at Michigan State. It is highly inaccurate statistically speaking to generalise these results to the general population. At best, this study might suggest that there is phenomena here that is worthy of further examination by a proper study.

    I'm not criticising the researchers: preliminary studies like this are the first step to getting funding for a more robust study, and they're not claiming anything earth-shattering or being sensationalist. But /. readers need to be aware that this is preliminary research, and does not mean what the headline suggests it does. A better headline would be something like "Preliminary research suggests there may be value in studying the relationship between multiple media use and depression"

    On a related note, I wish psychologists would stop using students as guinea pigs and then publishing papers on the results. We already know waaay too much about college undergraduates.

    • The preprint [msu.edu] is available, but is still pretty goddamn short.
    • by martas (1439879)

      I wish psychologists would stop using students as guinea pigs and then publishing papers on the results. We already know waaay too much about college undergraduates.

      Unfortunately that's often the only way to start investigating something, since undergraduate subjects come either cheap or free (lower level psychology courses in my university had a research participation requirement, I imagine the same goes for many other universities).

  • How about this: people that exhibit a high level of multi-tasking have a higher probability of being bored easily. People that are bored easily have a higher probability of being depressed.
  • The summary, and the linked article for that matter, both imply that there must be an arrow of causality between A (depression, anxiety) and B (multiple media input seeking). Does A cause B, or B cause A? However, that's a flawed view of this situation.

    The old adage that "correlation is not causation" is apt here... correlation does not prove a direct causal link. What correlation does do, however, is suggest the possibility of a causal relationship, whether direct, indirect, or parallel.

    The real answer cou

    • by snadrus (930168)
      My thoughts exactly. Anyone think that a stressful life that forces you try multi-task to try to catch-up may cause the depression?
  • Add my anecdotal evidence to the pile. In my own case, I have been depressed on account of the amazing suckitude of my life, and have deliberately turned to the distraction of multiple forms of media (books, TV, music, interwebs, beer, etc.), often simultaneously. Recognizing the external factors of my life that make it suck are beyond my control, and thinking about these things leads directly to depression, it is only reasonable to prevent thinking about these things by occupying my mind with anything else

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