Media Multitasking Linked to Depression, Anxiety

Using multiple forms of media at the same time – such as playing a computer game while watching TV – is linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression, scientists have found for the first time.

Michigan State Univ.’s Mark Becker, lead investigator on the study, says he was surprised to find such a clear association between media multitasking and mental health problems. What’s not yet clear is the cause. “We don’t know whether the media multitasking is causing symptoms of depression and social anxiety, or if it’s that people who are depressed and anxious are turning to media multitasking as a form of distraction from their problems,” says Becker, assistant professor of psychology.

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Anecdotal evidence (read as: my life) would suggest that it’s the latter. My media multitasking is on a bell curve: When I’m fine, I don’t have a lot of sources on at the same time, when I have early – mild symptoms I surround myself (multitaks media) with input to drown out thoughts and when I reach a certain state I can hardly process anything. 

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