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Lessons learned from a pilot project investigating Instagram use and depressive symptoms in female college students

Cara N. Gray, PhD, LRT/CTRS, Jaclyn L. Roth, CTRS, Angie L. Sardina, PhD, LRT/CTRS

Abstract


Objectives: To examine the relationship between Instagram use and depressive symptoms among young women, 18-24 years old, enrolled in a preprofessional health program, and to explore whether symptoms of depression decrease if Instagram use is replaced with other activities.

Design: Triphasic quantitative/qualitative digital survey.

Setting: Online at a midsized southeastern university.

Participants: Female college students, aged 18-24 years old, enrolled in a preprofessional health Program in the southeastern United States.

Interventions: A 2-week fast from Instagram use, incorporating various self-selected replacement activities.

Main outcome measure(s): Improved mood/affect, quality of sleep, self-esteem/body image.

Results: Inconclusive, ie, drift and low response rates.

Conclusions: Problematic social media use, which includes the use of Instagram, is related to negative impacts on health and wellness. Modifying behavior(s), in regard to use, has/have been shown to positively impact the user. Improvements in research design could yield vital information to support treatment and prevention of health threats from problematic social media use. Recreation therapists serving young women who experience symptoms of depression are urged to be aware of these health threats and identify specific assessments from which data will be used for treatment planning and collaborative decision-making.

 


Keywords


depression, digital detox, Instagram, recreation therapy, replacement activities

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2022.0260

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