The association between self-reported depressive symptoms and the use of social networking sites (SNS): A meta-analysis

  • Zahra VahediEmail author
  • Lesley Zannella


The use of social networking sites (SNSs) has become a widespread part of modern-day life. A recent proliferation of research regarding SNS use pertains to its association with self-reported depressive symptoms. The current meta-analysis evaluates this literature by assessing the relationship between SNS use and self-reported depressive symptoms. Based on 55 independent samples (N = 80, 533), an effect size of r = .165 was obtained, indicating a small, positive, significant association between self-reported symptoms of depression and SNS use. Furthermore, the type of SNS use was identified to be a significant moderator of this relationship. Limitations of this meta-analysis include the use of mainly cross-sectional studies – limiting the potential for causal claims –, as well as the subjective categorization of certain moderator subgroups. The results of this review highlight the need for advancing various streams of future research; particularly, in determining the direction of the causal relationship between these two constructs, as well as better-defined and theory-grounded definitions of the different types of SNS use.


Social networking sites Depression Meta-analysis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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