8 Internet Behaviors that Provide Warning Signs of Depression for College Students in Chicago

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If you are like most college students in the Chicago area, your behavior may reveal some key indications that you are experiencing depression or depressive symptoms.

Whether it’s hopping apps between hopping buses or rideshares or specific interactions on Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, your online browsing and social media behavior can give you warning signs of depression. If caught, you can seek help sooner—and there’s no reason not to seek help at the first signs of depression.

Signs of Depression on Chicago College Campuses

It’s no surprise that college students are heavier users of the internet and they suffer from depression in large rates. We know more about the link between the two now, as two studies—one published in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine and one presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in San Francisco last summer—revealed that five social media behaviors and three general internet usage behaviors can provide warning signs of depression or depressive symptoms.

As you walk around your Chicago-area campus—DePaul, UIC, CCC, or UChicago, just know that it is likely you are surrounded by peers who are experiencing depression symptoms. One study of college students found that 30 percent of the participants met the criteria for depressive symptoms, and the national estimates are between 10 and 40 percent of college students experience these symptoms at some point.

3 Signs of Depression in College Student Internet Behavior

In a unique study in 2012 at Missouri University of Science and Technology, 216 undergraduate volunteers took a standard depression assessment survey and their general internet behaviors were studied (not specific content they were looking at, but how they spent their time, for instance).

Those that met the criteria for depression symptoms had three primary behaviors in common:

  1. File sharing
  2. High email usage or frequent switching between apps
  3. Higher rates of video watching, gaming, and chatting

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5 Signs of Depression in Social Media Behavior Among College Students

In this study of around 500 undergraduates in 2018, researchers found that there was no link to why someone used social media, but that what they did while using social media did have associations to having depression symptoms (not necessarily contributing to them, though).

Those college students with depression symptoms were more likely to:

  1. Compare themselves negatively to other users
  2. Have difficulty reducing social media usage
  3. Be bothered when tagged in an unfavorable photo

In addition, students with depression were less likely to:

  1. Post photos of themselves with other people
  2. Have 300+ Twitter followers

There have been many studies that link or associate depressive symptoms in college students with social media usage or online behaviors, and research into these behaviors is still preliminary in most cases. Any behaviors that result in social isolation, online or on campus, generally can be associated with depressive symptoms.

Depression Help for Chicago College Students

If you are concerned about behaviors you’ve noticed in yourself or a friend, take the easy step to contact a mental health professional. If you do not know where to start and are a college student in the Chicago area, take our 3-Question Depression Test for TMS Therapy in Chicago or contact us and we will help you confidently and safely take the next steps to get evaluated and begin treatment for depression—if necessary.

Take the 3-Question Depression Test