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If you use a lot of social media, it could be linked to anxiety and depression

How many social media sites do you use?
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How many social media sites do you use?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn... the number of networks can quickly add up – and could be putting your mental health at risk.

New research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that using a lot of social media platforms is linked to anxiety and depression.

What's 'a lot?'

According to the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed what they call a "nationally-representative sample" of 1,787 young adults (ages 19–32) in the U.S. to figure out how much social media they used.

They found that participants who used seven to 10 social media platforms were about three times more likely to have increased levels of anxiety and depression, compared to those who used two or fewer – even when the amount of time they spent on the sites was the same. 

“While we can’t tell from this study whether depressed and anxious people seek out multiple platforms or whether something about using multiple platforms can lead to depression and anxiety, in either case the results are potentially valuable," lead author and physician Brian A. Primack said in a news release.

Now, if you're thinking "There's no way I use 10 social media platforms," do a quick little tally. The 11 most popular forms of social media at the time of the survey were Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.

You can read more of the analysis here.

It should be noted, though, that a different study from 2014 found that being on Facebook can actually make us happier.

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