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Depression linked to smartphone use

Depression linked to smartphone use
image courtesy of shutterstock

Researchers can tell when you're feeling depressed, and all they have to do is look at your smartphone. A new study examined people's smartphone use and predicted with 86% accuracy whether they were depressed or not. So does smartphone use cause depression or is it a symptom of it?

Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study to determine if people's cellphone habits were any indication of their emotional and mental stability. The study was led by the director of Northwestern’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, Dr. David C. Mohr.

Over 14.8 million Americans suffer from depression but only half actually seek treatment for their symptoms. This astonishing lack of diagnoses is because the people suffering often don't know that there's an issue in the first place. Dr. Mohr hopes to change that statistic after the world sees the results of his team's study.

Forty people were selected from Craigslist to participate in the study, and a final 28 were determined to have enough analyzable data after a two-week trial period.

The participants' smartphones were equipped with a program called Purple Robot that tracked behavior such as phone use and location information, like how long they spent at work and at home.

They used this information to collect data about the subjects' lifestyles and mental well-being.

Next page: What did the study find?
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