Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates Among U.S. Adolescents After 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time

Jean M. Twenge, Thomas E. Joiner, Megan L. Rogers, Gabrielle N. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

787 Scopus citations

Abstract

In two nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents in grades 8 through 12 (N = 506,820) and national statistics on suicide deaths for those ages 13 to 18, adolescents’ depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates increased between 2010 and 2015, especially among females. Adolescents who spent more time on new media (including social media and electronic devices such as smartphones) were more likely to report mental health issues, and adolescents who spent more time on nonscreen activities (in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, print media, and attending religious services) were less likely. Since 2010, iGen adolescents have spent more time on new media screen activities and less time on nonscreen activities, which may account for the increases in depression and suicide. In contrast, cyclical economic factors such as unemployment and the Dow Jones Index were not linked to depressive symptoms or suicide rates when matched by year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • depression
  • interpersonal interaction
  • mass media
  • sociocultural factors
  • suicide prevention

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