Exploring Depression Symptom References on Facebook among College Freshmen: A Mixed Methods Approach


Depression is common among older adolescents and can be challenged to identify. The purpose of this study was to evaluate Facebook displayed depression references and their association with depression and peer perception. First-year college students’ Facebook profiles were categorized as Depression Displayers or Non-Displayers. Participants completed a depression screen and were interviewed regarding Facebook displayed depression references. Analyses included logistic regression and qualitative analysis. Among 132 participants (70% response rate), the average age was 18.4 years (SD 0.49) and approximately half were males (48.5%). Depression Displayers were twice as likely (OR 2.1, 95% CI: 1.01 - 4.5, p = 0.04) to meet clinical criteria for depression. Qualitative analysis revealed that depression references were viewed as support-seeking or attention-seeking. Displayed depression references were associated with depression; these disclosures may be support-seeking efforts subject to varying interpretations by peers.

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Moreno, M. , Jelenchick, L. & Kota, R. (2013). Exploring Depression Symptom References on Facebook among College Freshmen: A Mixed Methods Approach. Open Journal of Depression, 2, 35-41. doi: 10.4236/ojd.2013.23008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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