Facebook Use, Social Support, and Depression in Medical Students

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dc.contributor.advisor Serlachius, A en
dc.contributor.author Brown, Bianca en
dc.date.accessioned 2018-05-14T23:45:53Z en
dc.date.issued 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/37132 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Aim: Facebook is the world’s largest and most pervasive social networking site that is most often used by young adults, such as students. Research is mixed as to whether Facebook is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for user health and wellbeing. Medical students are prone to high levels of stress, are likely to use Facebook, and have a high potential to display negative health behaviours. Examining the association between Facebook use, health behaviours, and mental health outcomes may provide more insight into whether Facebook is a beneficial tool for increasing social support for vulnerable groups. Methods: Seventy-seven undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Auckland medical school completed questionnaires at the beginning of semester and during the following exam period. Questions examined Facebook use, Facebook social support, health behaviours, stress, depression, and anxiety. Pearson’s correlations were used to assess the relationships between outcome measures, and paired samples t-tests were used to examine differences between the two time-points. Hierarchical linear regression was used to examine the variables that predicted depression. Linear regression was also used to assess if Facebook social support buffered against depression. Results: Stress significantly increased in medical students between the beginning of the semester and during the exam period (p = .037), but no changes in depression, anxiety, and health behaviours were observed (all p-values >.05). Higher perceived Facebook social support at the beginning of semester was associated with reduced depression during the following exam period (r = -.252, p = .027), although it was not associated with stress, anxiety, or health behaviours (p >.05). Facebook use at time 1 (specifically photo-tagging behaviours) was associated with reduced depression during the exam period (r =-0.256, p=.025). The interaction between stress and Facebook social support was significantly and negatively associated with depression (β = -1.889, p = .018), demonstrating the buffering effects of Facebook social support on depression. Conclusions: Our study supports previous research demonstrating benefits of using Facebook, in particular as a buffer against depression during the exam period. As we did not measure face-to-face social support, it remains to be seen whether Facebook social support offers unique support over and above offline social support. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265057313402091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title Facebook Use, Social Support, and Depression in Medical Students en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Health Psychology en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 740233 en
pubs.org-id Medical and Health Sciences en
pubs.org-id Faculty Administration FMHS en
pubs.org-id FMHS Research Support en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-05-15 en

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