Social Media Usage: The Impact on Feelings of Depression or Loneliness

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Sarah Jensen begins her research on the impact of social media by asking a thought-provoking question, “Does increased social media use affect the quality of life?” (Jensen, 2018, p. 2). Shen then goes ahead to develop a hypothesis that the more a person joins and spends time on many social media sites, the more that person feels depressed or lonely. Her research was prompted by numerous social media sites currently existing and how people spend most of their time on these platforms. According to Jensen, social media is a critical part of the modern life infrastructure. Social media has added a new layer to the communication since communication through social media can be done anywhere, at any time and among users at different locations so long as they are connected to the internet. After reviewing previous literature on the impacts of social media on a quality of life, Jensen found out that there exist divergent opinions, some maintaining that social media platforms have positive impacts on users’ quality of life while others believe that social media is detrimental to the quality of life as it promotes avoidance for in-person communication. 

To prove or disapprove the hypothesis, Jensen carried out a quantitative research using 2016 General Social Survey data which targeted either Spanish or English speaking household adults in the United States. A sample of 628 of only the in-person interviews was chosen from the 2016 General Social Survey. From the analysis of her data, Jensen found out that about half of the sample reported depression or loneliness at some point in their lives. However, the negative emotions were not caused by social media usage but some other aspect of life with most of them citing low income as the cause. The hypothesis that increased use of social media increased depression and loneliness was therefore rejected due to statistical insignificance. 

The main purpose of the article was to determine whether increased use of social media increased the incidence of depression or loneliness. The author remained focused on this purpose throughout her work hence the article has a clear purpose. To accomplish her purpose, the author developed a hypothesis which she used statistical research methods to justify or disapprove. Analysis of the data revealed lack of statistical significance between the results and the hypothesis and the hypothesis was rejected and the purpose of the article was accomplished (Jensen, 2018, p. 19). To prove the importance of her research, Jensen reviewed previous researches and literature from which she found out a disagreement in the findings. She then undertook a quantitative research to evaluate her hypothesis. Therefore, Jensen provided strong evidence for her main points and her conclusion.

There are noticeable gaps in this research. The research has used only 628 responded to make a claim for the entire social media population. This sample is too small for an effective representative sample owing to a large number of people to whom the finding of this research is to be inferred. Again, self-reported answers, particularly concerning depression and loneliness, might not be accurate as many people are afraid to admit their emotions at times.  However, the article is written in an appealing manner mainly due to the use of statistical evidence and evidence from other researches and scholarly works. The logic sequence of ideas in this article is also appealing. There is no doubt this research has made the world a better place especially at the time when the current generation lives in an internet saturated world and everybody wants to comprehend the effects of social media platforms on the quality of life. This research relieves people the fear that increased use of social media translates to an increased incidence of depression of loneliness.


Jensen, S. (2018). Social Media Usage: The Impact on Feelings of Depression or Loneliness.

August 21, 2023




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