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Depressed Men More Susceptible to Internet Addiction

A study of depressed men and women reveal that men are more likely to turn to the web and video gaming to escape their depression.

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By Bryan Le

04/03/14

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A new study reveals that men with depression are more likely to get sucked into the internet and video gaming.

Hundreds of Montreal 20-year-olds diagnosed with depression were asked to keep track of their browsing and gaming habits until they were 24. The researchers found that there were big differences between the browsing and gaming habits of men and women.

“We started out with the idea that early depression might later turn everyone into couch potatoes, just sitting around glued to the TV or a computer screen,” said Dr. Nancy Low of McGill University, one of the authors of the study. “But what we didn’t expect was to see such a clear difference between what men and women were doing.”

The studied men spent an average of four more hours online or in front of a television than women did, totaling about 21 hours a week, or over three hours a day.

The next step, researchers said, was to find out the difference between the sites that depressed men and women spent their time. They suspected that women were more likely to use social media for interaction and communication - a way to deal with their depression - while men were more likely to peruse news sites or play games, normally less social activities that help them avoid or hide from their problems.

“This study signals that young men who have been depressed are more likely than young women to become trapped in a vicious cycle where depression later leads to more sedentary behavior which in turn may contribute to later health problems that also include depression,” Low said. “What we need to do is figure out how best to intervene early in the process. And one of the things we’re looking into now is how that online time, and things like mobile apps, can best be used to help young people deal with their depression and become more physically active.”

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