So­cial me­dia may re­duce de­pres­sion risk for older peo­ple

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Lifestyle -

ON­LINE so­cial­iz­ing may weaken the tie be­tween pain and de­pres­sion for older peo­ple, a U.S. study sug­gests.

Peo­ple in chronic pain are at risk of de­pres­sion to start with. When pain makes them stay home more, in­ter­act­ing with friends and fam­ily less, it only adds to this risk, the re­searchers write in the Jour­nals of Geron­tol­ogy, Se­ries B.

The 3,401 study par­tic­i­pants were 67 or older, and all lived in the com­mu­nity rather than in a care­giv­ing fa­cil­ity. About onethird lived alone, and 1,833, or 54 per­cent, said they’d been both­ered by pain in the last month. Among peo­ple with pain, the rate of de­pres­sion was lower with so­cial me­dia use. Six per­cent of those who used so­cial me­dia also re­ported symp­toms of de­pres­sion, com­pared with 15 per­cent of those who didn’t use so­cial me­dia.

The new anal­y­sis is one of the first to in­ves­ti­gate whether so­cial me­dia can help al­le­vi­ate the stresses of so­cial iso­la­tion brought on by pain, said co-au­thor Shan­non Ang, a doc­toral can­di­date in so­ci­ol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan in Ann Ar­bor.

“Us­ing on­line so­cial me­dia to main­tain con­tact with fam­ily mem­bers and friends is a good way to com­pen­sate for se­niors who re­strict their so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties due to pain. It is not go­ing to re­place see­ing peo­ple in per­son, but it will help sup­ple­ment their re­duced ac­tiv­i­ties,” Ang said in a phone in­ter­view.

For the new study, Ang and his coau­thor looked at data for 2013 and 2014 from the Na­tional Health and Ag­ing Trends Study, an an­nual sur­vey that tracks Medi­care ben­e­fi­cia­ries’ phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive health over time.

Ev­ery month, an aver­age, the par­tic­i­pants en­gaged in one for­mal so­cial ac­tiv­ity - such as at­tend­ing re­li­gious ser­vices or a club meet­ing - and about two in­for­mal so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties - such as spend­ing time with friends at their homes. Only 17 per­cent had used on­line so­cial net­works.

Ang hopes to see more pro­grams and ser­vices that teach older adults to use com­put­ers and nav­i­gate so­cial me­dia sites.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.