(Newsroom America) -- Frequency and duration of online social networking may have a negative effect on mental health outcomes such as depression, but a new systematic review suggests that the relationship between online social networking and depression is more complex.
In fact, not only may how a person uses sites such as Facebook and Twitter be more important factors, but for some people, social networking may serve as a resource for managing depression, thereby contributing to more positive outcomes, according to a review published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
David Baker and Guillermo Perez Algorta, Lancaster University, U.K., coauthors of the article entitled "The Relationship Between Online Social Networking and Depression: A Systematic Review of Quantitative Studies," conclude that multiple psychological, social, behavioral, and individual factors may all impact this complex relationship.
Online social networking can have both a positive and a negative effect on a person's well-being, and the frequency, quality, and purpose of the experience will all factor into the outcome.
"As mental health professionals, it is imperative that we ask our patients about social support systems (whether online or in real life) as part of a routine clinical intake," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.
"Distinguishing between positive and negative online behavior, and understanding what relieves and what exacerbates one's depression, can be elucidated by use of a thorough intake and clinical history."