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Browsing, Posting, and Liking on Instagram: The Reciprocal Relationships Between Different Types of Instagram Use and Adolescents' Depressed Mood


Instagram browsing posting liking depressed mood adolescence

Publication details

Year: 2017
DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2017.0156
Issued: 2017
Language: English
Volume: 20
Issue: 10
Start Page: 603
End Page: 609
Authors: Frison E.; Eggermont S.
Type: Journal article
Journal: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Topics: Content-related issues; Risks and harms
Sample: 1,235 adolescents from 12-to-19 years old from fifteen high schools filled out the questionnaire at both time points, from which 440 are members of Instagram


Although studies have shown that Instagram use and young adults’ mental health are crosssectionally associated, longitudinal evidence is lacking. In addition, no study thus far examined this association, nor the reverse, among adolescents. To address these gaps, we set up a longitudinal panel study among 12- to 19-year-old Flemish adolescents to investigate the reciprocal relationships between different types of Instagram use and depressed mood. Selfreport data from 671 adolescent Instagram users (61% girls; MAge = 14.96; SD = 1.29) were used to examine our research question and test our hypotheses. Structural equation modeling showed that Instagram browsing at Time 1 was related to increases in adolescents’ depressed mood at Time 2. In addition, adolescents’ depressed mood at Time 1 was related to increases in Instagram posting at Time 2. These relationships were similar among boys and girls. Potential explanations for the study findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.


"Instagram browsing is related to increases in adolescents’ depressed mood. This harmful impact of Instagram browsing on adolescents’ depressed mood might be due to the large number of strangers that adolescents follow through Instagram. Similarly to Facebook use, Instagram use might stimulate negative comparison behaviors. Contrary to the expectations, no support was found for an association between Instagram posting/liking and adolescents’ depressed mood. This could be because Instagram’s prime focus is on sharing images and videos, and provides users less possibilities to express their emotions and seek social support and thus to decrease their depressed mood. Yet, depressed mood is related to increases in Instagram posting in line with the fact that media are purposively used for coping with moods. Adolescents with greater depressed mood may be more likely to post images or videos on Instagram, perhaps, to enhance their image in the eyes of other social network members. Instagram is a visually-centered platform that allows their users to easily edit and filter their photos and videos; it is thus an ideal medium to present oneself in their best possible way, even a false way. It not only allows them to enhance their image in the eye of others, but also to find encouragement (e.g., through likes and positive comments). There were no significant differences found between boys and girls although this could be due to the underreepresentation of boys in the questionnaire." (Frison & Eggermont, 2017, pp. 11-13)

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