Relationship between Social Media Use and Level of Depression among University Students in Nairobi County, Kenya
Kinyua, Stephen Muchiri
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Social media use has increased tremendously, with an estimated 3.5 billion users globally. A significant number of that population comprise University students. Depression has also been on the increase among the young people and especially University population; and while researchers have explored many causes of depression, the correlation between social media use and depression has not been adequately addressed. This study sought to find out the relationship between social media use and level of depression among university students in Nairobi County, Kenya. The investigation was founded on the theory of planned behavior by Icek Ajzen (1985) and Albert Ellis Cognitive theory of depression (1957). A correlational research approach was utilized to guide the investigation. 196,718 students from Nairobi County's public and private universities were the study's target group. A sample size of 383 participants was selected to take part in this investigation. Proportionate sampling method, stratified random sampling, and Simple random sampling were sampling methods used to get the sample. A pilot study was conducted among 38 students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Data on social media use and depression was gathered using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were utilized to investigate demographic characteristics, while Spearman Rank order correlation coefficient was employed to test the hypotheses. The results indicated that 54% of the students experienced moderate frequency of social media utilization. The findings further established that 76% of the university students had a mild level of depression. A significant relationship was found between frequency of social media use and level of depression. A significant relationship was further established between Facebook use and WhatsApp use with level of depression. A significant relationship was established between level of depression and use of social media for social function, academic function, entertainment function and informative function, p<0.05. The study concluded that frequency of social media use was related to depression among students, WhatsApp and Facebook were the forms of social media that were highly correlated with depression among students, students experienced mild levels of depression, and there was a positive relationship between social media usage and level of depression. The research recommends that the government should put in place relevant mental health policies targeting social media platforms, university administrations to have mental health clinics to help students with depression and the students should take it as their mandates to control their social media use.