Published: 04th March 2021
Health information from a person of trust reduces chances of depression in teens, says study
The more that adolescents trusted their parents or teacher as a credible source of health information, the more likely they were to experience less depression
Learning about their health through a trusted source may help teens take better care of themselves, leading to less depressive symptoms, says a new study.
The study indicated that trust played a factor in whether receiving health information improved depression.
The more that adolescents trusted their parents or teacher as a credible source of health information, the more likely they were to experience less depression.
Additionally, even though adolescents reported that they trusted traditional media -- like TV, radio and newspapers -- more than online content, only content from social media or websites resulted in actual changes in behaviour.
"This study was actually inspired by my students, after several of them came to me really stressed out," said researcher Bu Zhong from the Pennsylvania State University.
For the study, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, the team recruited 310 adolescents from elementary, middle and high schools.
Participants answered information about health information -- such as seminars, classes, pamphlets and other media -- they recently consumed, including its quality and whether the source and information were credible.
They also answered questions about their health, including their symptoms of depression and whether consuming health information led to changes in their behaviour, such as whether they felt it helped them prevent disease and if it increased their likelihood to discuss and share health information with friends.
The researchers found that the older participants were, the more likely they were to be depressed. Additionally, participants with higher GPAs were also more likely to be depressed.
The researcher said this could be because the longer students were in school, and the better their grades were, the more likely they were more likely to feel more pressure to succeed.
However, the more frequently participants used social media, the more likely they were to change their health behaviours, which led to less depression.
Overall, the researchers said the results suggest that health information has the potential to be strategically used to help mitigate depression in teens and adolescents.