Committee ChairMehl, Matthias
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDepression has a high prevalence among college students. Because it is a highly private (i.e. experiential) and socially stigmatized mental illness, it often goes undetected in daily life. The basic research question behind this line of research is how students' postings on their social networking websites can be used for the early detection of depression. The current research investigates how well depression can be gauged from MySpace profiles (Study 1) and Facebook profiles (Study 2 & Study 3). Across studies, the results reveal that depression can be assessed with a moderate degree of accuracy. In addition, Study 3 presents evidence that viewing "mini-blogs" allows for similar levels of accuracy compared to viewing an entire profile and the degree to which a person is Extraverted or censors information about themselves (e.g. Impression Management, Public Self-Consciousness) influences the degree of accuracy. Overall, the results speak to the idea that social networking sites can be a cost effective and clinically relevant tool to detecting depression.