VoxEU Column

Social media and mental health

Over the last two decades, the mental health of adolescents and young adults in many countries has worsened considerably. This column looks at the role that social media has played in this, focusing on Facebook. Using the gradual expansion of the website across US colleges as a natural experiment, the authors find that students were more likely to report that mental health issues negatively affected their academic performance after Facebook was introduced at their college, with evidence suggesting that the effects operated through unfavourable social comparison.