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Investigating the role of social media on mental health

Hassan Ebrahimpour Sadagheyani (Department of Health Information Technology, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran)
Farin Tatari (Department of Public Health, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 16 October 2020

Issue publication date: 23 February 2021

8429

Abstract

Purpose

Today with the internet expansion, social media has also been identified as a factor in evolutions. Social media is the title used to refer to the set of sites and tools that have been born and developed in the space created by modern media such as communication networks, the internet and mobile phones. The effects of emerging phenomena, such as social media on human health, especially mental health, are important. As the effects of social media on users mental health is unclear, and the evidence in this field is contradictory, this study aims to determine the role of social media on mental health.

Design/methodology/approach

The current study was a review conducted in 2020. According to keywords, an extensive search was conducted on Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, Magiran and SID databases. In total, 501 articles were obtained. The articles were screened in three stages. Finally, out of 501 evaluated articles, 50 cases were carefully assessed and included in the study.

Findings

The findings showed that social media has negative and positive effects on mental health. Negative effects included anxiety, depression, loneliness, poor sleep quality, poor mental health indicators, thoughts of self-harm and suicide, increased levels of psychological distress, cyber bullying, body image dissatisfaction, fear of missing out and decreased life satisfaction. Positive effects included accessing other people’s health experiences and expert health information, managing depression, emotional support and community building, expanding and strengthening offline networks and interactions, self-expression and self-identity, establish and maintain relationships.

Originality/value

The impact of social media on mental health can be considered as a double-edged sword. The important thing is to be able to reduce the negative effects of social media on mental health and turn it into an opportunity by implementing appropriate strategies and actions and to increase and strengthen the positive effects.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The Ethics Committee in National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR) approved this study with code 972545. The authors wish to thank National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR) for their support to do and complete this research.

Conflicts of Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding Source: This research was funded by the National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education. Tehran. Iran (Grant No. 972544).

Citation

Sadagheyani, H.E. and Tatari, F. (2021), "Investigating the role of social media on mental health", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 41-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-06-2020-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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