Thrive in our connected world

38% Americans believe social media is harmful to mental health

Sad and contemplative young woman.

A new study by the American Psychiatric Association has found that over one in three US adults believe social media is impacting mental health in a negative way.

Top findings of the national survey (n = 1,005, margin of error +/-3.1 percentage points) conducted in April 2019.

  • 38% – Adults who feel social media is harmful to mental health
  • 5% – Adults who feel social media has a positive impact on mental health
  • 88% – Adults who believe the amount of social media activity among children and teens is concerning
  • 67% – Adults who believe that social media usage is related to feelings of loneliness or social isolation.
  • 74% – Adults who believe that social media has a moderate or major impact on the suicide rate in the U.S.?

Of course, these are only public perceptions and not evidence-based facts. But the study does confirm that idea that there is an emergent ‘moral panic’ around social media which is widely believed to undermine wellbeing, promote loneliness, isolation, and even suicide.

The full results of the APA study can be found here.

Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.