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27-08-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2020

Associations between Comparison on Social Media and Depressive Symptoms: A Study of Young Parents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2020
Jaime E. Sidani, Ariel Shensa, César G. Escobar-Viera, Brian A. Primack
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We aimed to assess associations between parental social media comparison (PSMC)—the degree to which individuals compare their parenting with others on social media (SM)—and depressive symptoms. In March 2018 we conducted a survey of 528 parents ages 18-30 with children under the age of 18. Participants were asked about SM use, PSMC, and depressive symptoms. PSMC was measured with 7 Likert-type items that asked participants the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “Based on their posts, other parents on social media appear to provide a better social life for their children than I do.” Depressive symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Multivariable ordered logistic regression models were used to assess the association between PSMC and depressive symptoms while controlling for SM use, parent adverse childhood experiences, parent age, gender, race/ethnicity, relationship status, employment status and household income, age of oldest child, and number of children. The PSMC was internally consistent (α = 0.94). In multivariable models, after adjusting for all covariates, there was 51% greater odds of elevated depressive symptoms (AOR = 1.51, 95% CI [1.33, 1.71]) for every one-point increase on the PSMC scale. In conclusion, the PSMC is independently associated with elevated depressive symptoms among parents. Future research should assess directionality of these associations and further explore parents’ experiences of comparison with others on SM.

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