TV, other media watching linked to depression in teens

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Parents across the country have scratched their heads in puzzlement for the past few decades over the increasing prevalence of depression in their teenagers. Money, coddling and self-esteem haven't seemed to stem this tide. Now researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have linked depression symptoms in teens to exposure to electronic media.

The authors of the study appearing in the Archives of General Psychiatry don't discount genetics, parental style, social stressors and other factors as contributors to depression. However, their study of 4,142 adolescents over a seven-year period found that 'participants had significantly greater odds of developing depression...for each hour of daily television viewed." Men were more likely to exhibit this effect than women.Roughly one of every five teens will experience depression during their adolescence, and 10-15% are exhibiting symptoms at any one time. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among our country's youth.

The researchers speculate that the link between media and depression may come about because TV viewing replaces time the teens would otherwise spendon the social, intellectual or physical activities that often helps alleviate depression. Perhaps, they also conjecture, television watching and the like might disrupt the sleep cycle, or the subjects may be reacting to the aggression and other risky behaviors they see and hear in the media.

I guess my Mom was right when she pulled me away from the TV and forced me to go outside and play. Ah, but Mom, look at me now! With all the time I spend at my PC, I should be the saddest guy in America.

Also read: Money troubles and mental disorders
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