(HealthDay News) — Social media use interventions may be effective in improving mental well-being in adults, according to a review published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Ruth Plackett, PhD, from University College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies examining the effectiveness of social media use interventions in improving mental well-being in adults.

Based on 23 included studies, the researchers found that 39% of studies showed improvements in mental well-being, 30% found mixed effects, and 30% found no effect on mental well-being. Therapy-based interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy) were more effective than limiting use of social media or full abstinence from social media (83, 20 and 25%, respectively). The most commonly studied and the most improved outcome was depression (70% of the studies showing a significant improvement in depression after the intervention). Overall, quality was poor (96% with a weak global score), most often due to selection bias, as most of the studies (70%) used a convenience sampling of university students.

“Taking a more therapy-based approach and reflecting on how and why individuals are interacting with social media and managing these behaviors could help to improve mental well-being,” the authors write.

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