Research Article
Volume 10 Issue 3 - 2021
Social Media and its Problematic Use Among Patients Diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Reema Dahham Alfandi1*, Maan ABari Qasem Saleh1 and Amen Bawazir2
1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Fisal University, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia
2College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding Author: Reema Dahham Alfandi, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Fisal University, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia.
Received: January 26, 2021; Published: February 27, 2021


Background: The past decade has seen a worldwide increase in the use of the Internet and social media. Social media use (SMU) has radically changed the way people interact and communicate, and has produced what may become problematic behavior in its users. The scope of this current study was to analyse the quantity and pattern of social media usage among a number of depressed and anxious patients and evaluate the associated problems.

Subjects and Methods: We surveyed a convenience sample of 80 adult Saudi patients of either gender, aged between 18-70 years with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. SM use and SM platforms were assessed through self-reporting of total amount of time spent, number of times and reasons for using SM. Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Problematic Social Media Use (PSMU) was also measured using an adapted version of the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale to encompass broader SM use. Descriptive statistics and Chi-squared tests were also performed.

Results: 80 patients participated in the survey, of whom 95% were social media users. 55.2% of female participants spent more time on social media than males. Additionally, anxious participants spent more time engaging with SM compared to depressed participants. 30.8% of anxious participants displayed significant PSMU, and 51.4% of depressed participants exhibited moderate PSMU. The results show a significant association between time spent on social media and diagnosis (p = 0.31). Also, time spent on SM were significantly associated with PSMU (P= 0.001). The SM platforms most often used by the participants are WhatsApp®, Instagram® and Snapchat®. More than half of the sample use SM for purposes of entertainment, followed by searching for information (82.10%), and connecting with friends and family (69.20%). However, 76.90% do not use social media to seek psychological counselling or psychological treatment information.

Conclusions: Most of the participants were social media users who exhibited severe to moderate PSMU. Anxious and depressed patients commonly use SM for purposes of entertainment. More research is needed to generalize and replicate these preliminary results to further understand the relationship between SMU and mental health, as well as the temporal relationships between psychiatric disorders and PSMU, mechanisms of comorbidity, and the subtler psychological changes that occur through SMU.

Keywords: Social Media; Problematic; Depression Disorder; Anxiety Disorder; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


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Citation: Reema Dahham Alfandi., et al. “Social Media and its Problematic Use Among Patients Diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety Disorders”. EC Psychology and Psychiatry 10.3 (2021): 68-80.

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