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Adaptive and Maladaptive Means of Using Facebook

A Qualitative Pilot Study to Inform Suggestions for Development of a Future Intervention for Depression

TRAN, TANYA B., PhD; UEBELACKER, LISA, PhD; WENZE, SUSAN J., PhD; COLLINS, CAITLIN; BROUGHTON, MONICA K.

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: November 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 458–473
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000109
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Existing literature examining the relation between social networking sites and mental health is primarily based on correlational methods and presents mixed findings. Many researchers neglect to examine the cognitive and behavioral processes used while online. This study’s qualitative approach strives to understand how individuals with elevated depressive symptoms may use Facebook following an interpersonal stressor. Participants’ narration of their Facebook use was coded. Common adaptive uses included using Facebook to seek social support, actively communicate, distract, recall positive memories, and reappraise negative thoughts. Maladaptive uses included engaging in social comparison, ruminating, and recalling negative memories. Feedback regarding development of a future intervention was also elicited. Suggestions included using Facebook to view positive, interesting, or meaningful information, distract, garner social support, and engage in social activities. Findings indicate that how one engages with Facebook after an interpersonal stressor may affect adjustment and may help to inform the development of a novel, Facebook-based intervention.

TRAN: Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI

UEBELACKER: Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Butler Hospital, Providence, RI

WENZE: Lafayette College, Easton, PA

COLLINS and BROUGHTON: Butler Hospital, Providence, RI

Supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant K23 MH093410, awarded to S.J.W.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Tanya B. Tran, PhD, Rhode Island Hospital, Mood Disorders Program, 593 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, RI 02903 (e-mail: ttran1@lifespan.org).

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.