New research on depression revealed there’s another way to see if you’re suffering from depression or not. Scientists have found that Internet usage patterns can reveal depression.
The hope is to put together software that would help identify depressive tendencies There are so many factors that impact our moods is difficult to be sure whether it’s a temporary problem causaged by a bad night’s sleep or a bigger issue, such as depression.
Not many feel comfortable talking about their problems with a specialist, nor do they have the time. Plus, since Internet usage has raised incredibly fast, researchers believe there’s a solution in our web history patterns.
Researchers explained in a New York Times article that their study showed people that are depressed tend to have a different Internet browsing pattern. 216 college students took part at the study and 30 percent of them were found to manifest depression symptoms.
“There were two major findings. First we identified several features of Internet usage that correlated with depression” explained the scientists. “Our second major discovery was that there were patterns of Internet usage that were statistically high among participants with depressive symptoms compared with those without symptoms” reads the article.
After answering a questionnaire, the students with depression manifested the following Internet usage patterns: “obsessively” checking their e-mail accounts, spending a lot of time watching videos online and going through multiple apps at a fast pace.
Time for the truth: do you find any of these familiar? Researchers explained their study was only meant to monitor how the students were using the Internet. They monitored “information about traffic flow that the university customarily collects for troubleshooting network connections and such”.
“Earlier studies have looked into the relationship between Internet usage and depression” the researchers’ statement read. “…ours is thought to be the first to usage actual Internet data, collected anonymously and unobtrusively, rather than student-completed surveys about Internet usage, which are less reliable”.
The hope is to usage the data acquired to put together software that would help identify depressive behavior. Researchers said their software isn’t going to “replace the function of mental health professionals, but it could be a cost-effective way to prompt people to seek medical help early”.
At the same time, the tool researchers talked about could be extremely useful for parents tracking their children Internet browsing and connecting that to their moods.