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The Internet

Depressed People Surf the Web Differently 278 278

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Medical Daily: "Researchers led by Sriram Chellappan from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, collected internet usage data from 216 college students enrolled at the university. The usage data was collected anonymously without interfering with the student’s normal internet usage for a month. The students were tested to see if they had symptoms of depression and analyzed internet usage based on the results. Depressed students tended to use the internet in much different ways than their non-depressed classmates. Depressed students used file-sharing programs, like torrents or online sharing sites, more than non-depressed students (PDF). Depressed students also chatted more and sent more emails out. Online video viewing and game playing were also more popular for depressed students."
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Depressed People Surf the Web Differently

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:00PM (#40080511)

    File-sharing, chatting, email, video games, watching videos--all those are the domain of the depressed, apparently. So wtf do the non-depressed do online, just read the newspaper and post ads on Craigslist?

  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:02PM (#40080537) Homepage Journal
    "Depressed people skate on the other side of the ice."
  • by RalphWigum (519738) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:04PM (#40080555) Homepage
    Yay! Another correlation != causality study. Everyone jump to conclusions in 5...4...3...2...1
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:09PM (#40080621)

    I'm tired of people trotting out "correlation doesn't equal causation" to dismiss practically every study they don't like. Correlation doesn't necessarily prove causation, but the point is that it's often a strong indicator of a link. For example, the random, chaotic pattern of chatting behavior exhibited by the depressed students makes sense because one sign of depression is an inability to focus and remain undistracted.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:16PM (#40080681) Homepage

    Makes sense to me that depressed people would do more file sharing. File sharing is a means to an end, not an activity in and of itself. It follows that a depressed person might say, "Fuck it, I'm just going to stay home and watch every episode of Game of Thrones and eat Cheetos until I fall asleep."

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:19PM (#40080709) Homepage

    I hope that your point is that not all depressed people can be lumped into one category.

    People who have experienced episodes of major depression might resent your assertion that they got that way because they were "lonely" or "bored" -- or even "sad."

  • coping mechanism. When your brain is telling you you're all alone, you do everything you can to feel some sort of human connection.

  • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:37PM (#40080871)

    If you'd RTFA, you'd see that depressed people do these things more than normal people, and they chat in a seemingly random pattern because they exhibit an inability to focus, which is a sign of depression.

    I read the article and I'd say the GP's point is valid. All it does is claim that depressed people do more of the very generic internet activities mentioned and switch between these activities more often, while making no mention of what things non-depressed people do instead. Therefore, at most I see a claim that depressed people may surf the web *more*, but no compelling evidence of how they do so *differently*.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:47PM (#40080953)

    "Fuck it, I'm just going to stay home and watch every episode of Game of Thrones and eat Cheetos until I fall asleep."

    That plan sounds pretty rad, actually.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:50PM (#40080985) Homepage

    When I'm depressed, I do everything I can to avoid human connection altogether.

  • Avoiding People (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @06:11PM (#40081235)

    It's called escapism. I watched vidoes and played games so I wouldn't have to think of my miserable life. Of course doing those things didn't help fix my problems, so I always ended up feeling worse sometime afterwards. But I didn't have any motivation to get any real work done. I don't do online chats and don't have many (if any) friends to send emails to (not that I would have anything to say), but I prefer online communications compared with face to face. It's a lot easier to write a response than it is to stand next to someone and try to completely hide your depression. People don't like being around other depressed people; it's depressing.

    Maintaining face is extermely difficult when you're really depressed. Happy people make you want to cry because you're never that happy and can't ever get there. You also haven't acoomplished anything (you sat around for 3-4 hours being too depressed to do anything), so when people ask you "what's up" you have no answer. There's only so many ways to sound busy.

  • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @06:26PM (#40081415)

    coping mechanism. When your brain is telling you you're all alone, you do everything you can to feel some sort of human connection.

    No. Goddamnit, no.

    Look, you extroverted people have no understanding of us, more introverted guys. I understand most people really can't stand to be alone, and start wanting to climb the walls when forced to do that. Not everyone shares these feelings. We prefer interaction online because we want to attenuate the human connection. Being around people for too long drains me. Talking to someone online is manageable, because the person on the other side isn't taking up the entirety of my attention, and I'm free to do other things WHILE interacting. I get a message, and I get to ignore it for a minute while I'm reading an article, then getting around to respond it, then go back to reading the article.

    One-on-one people interactions completely monopolize your time, and for that reason is very draining to introverts. You can't just tune out the person for a bit without being extremely rude. When I was in college, my roommate was another introvert. We sometimes, I shit you not, type to each other over instant messaging through our computers while IN THE SAME ROOM.

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:10PM (#40081779)

    Um, I agree, but what the hell does that have to do with what the GP was saying?

    Depressed people (people whose "brain is telling you you're all alone") do everything they can to feel some sort of human connection. Whether they're extroverted, and go to lots of parties, or they're introverted, and connect to people in a manageable online environment, or they're extroverted, and use online communications because the barrier of entry is lower, is irrelevant according to the GP's argument.

    Sounds like you're jumping on your introverted/extroverted hobbyhorse without even checking to see if it makes sense in the context of the argument you're addressing.

  • by Lotana (842533) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:24PM (#40081865)

    Please see a psychiatrist.

    They really, really do help. You will not be looked down upon, you will be given specific to you help rather than just the generic "How to feel better" crap you find in books and online. Also it will not be the "Here take this pill and go away" treatment that you get from general practitioners. It might be a little pricy (Especially if you don't have insurance), but worth every single penny! This is your direct quality of life and means to make a living we are talking about here.

    At the very least they will advise you on how to get out of this self-feeding loop. Without proffessional help (Your family and friends are doing all they know to help you, but they just don't know how to do that) you will not be able to break out of this and things will just get steadily worse. Take it from someone that have been in this situation for several years before finally biting the bullet and seeking help.

    Finally if it gets so bad that you seriously start planning out your suicide, you owe it to everyone that care or ever cared about you to seek proffessional help immediately! Taking your own life will send the people you know right into deep depression themselves: Do you really want them to go through what you are in now?

  • Re:RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:21AM (#40086487) Journal

    But then the receptionist started filling the stream with hardcore feminist rhetoric

    i.e. she complained once about always being asked to make teas and coffees for everybody

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