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Using online social media, Facebook, in screening for major depressive disorder among college students

January 24, 2013

Using online social media, Facebook, in screening for major depressive disorder among college students (PDF)

Source: International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology

This study explored the feasibility of using Internet social networking media in an online program for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) screening and psychoeducation targeting college students. A Facebook advertisement targeted students at five colleges in the United States to complete a mental health research survey that screened for MDD using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Students who screened positive for MDD were offered an eightweek follow-up survey. Of the 259 students who consented to participate in the study, 26.7% screened positive for MDD, while only 14.2% were receiving treatment. The use of Facebook to advertise for online screening for MDD required very little start-up time, and the average cost was $11.45 per subject recruited. It is feasible to use online, commercially available social networking media such as Facebook for online screening for MDD among college students. However, conducting online screening and offering treatment resources alone did not increase treatment rate in this population.

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