Taking a Break From Social Media Improves Psychological Well-Being

High social media usage may result in increased odds for depression and poorer mental health in general. According to new research published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networkingtaking a one week break from social media platforms like TikTok may improve well-being and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Some previous studies have shown participants to have better well-being and lower levels of loneliness and depression after taking a break. However, “there is currently still a lack of studies examining the effect of reducing [social media] use on well-being, depression, and anxiety, with studies calling for more experimental research,” wrote study author Jeffrey Lambert and colleagues.

“To address these gaps, the present study aimed to understand the impact of taking a 1-week break from [social media] (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok) on well-being, depression, and anxiety compared with using [social media] as normal.”

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the intervention group where they were asked to quit social media for a week and the control group where they continued social media use as normal. After 1 week, all participants took a follow up survey where they provided evidence of their screen time from the relevant apps. Participants then completed measures assessing well-being, depression, and anxiety both at the beginning of participation and in the follow up survey.

Results indicate intervention group showed overall improvement in well-being scores compared to the control group. Further, the intervention group showed significant reductions in depression and anxiety scores compared to the control group. Follow up analyses suggest the improvement in well-being and reduction of depression and anxiety scores worked through participants reporting spending less minutes on social media.

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