Study shows link between phone usage and depression

by Elizabeth Smith

According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, depression may be able to be identified through phone usage. Researchers found a correlation between the amount of time someone spends on their phone and the chance they have symptoms of depression, CBS Chicago reported People who showed no symptoms of depression averaged about 17 minutes of usage, while depressed individuals averaged 68 daily minutes, CBS Chicago reported. Usage accurately identified people suffering from depressive symptoms with 87 percent accuracy, Medical News Today reported. For the study, according to Time Magazine, researchers recruited 28 people ages 19-58 from Craigslist and installed location-and-usage monitoring software on their smartphones. Participants took a standardized questionnaire at the start of the study that measures depressive symptoms — half participants had symptoms of depression, while the other half did not. The phones tracked GPS location information every five minutes and alerted users with questions about their mood several times a day for two weeks, Time Magazine reported. The study’s authors told CBS Chicago that the smart phone data was more accurate way of detecting depression than the answers given in the questionnaire.