In January 2019 researchers from the UK published the results of their study to assess the association between screen use and anxiety and depression in young people. A total of 1,869 young adults, aged 16 years, were involved in the study. Information on various types of screen usage, eg watching television, using a computer, and texting, both on weekdays and at weekends, was collected via questionnaire at age 16 years. In addition, symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed when the individual was aged 18 years. Results showed that a greater amount of time spent using a computer on both weekdays and at weekends was associated with a small increase in the risk of anxiety. However, a greater amount of time spent using a computer at weekends only was associated with a small increased risk in depression. There was little evidence that texting or watching television was associated with the risk of either anxiety or depression. Time spent alone was found to decrease some of these associations and further research is required to explore this.
Khouja JN et al. Is screen time associated with anxiety or depression in young people? Results from a UK birth cohort. BMC Public Health. 2019 Jan 17;19(1):82.