Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Being a teen increases depression risk.

It's official.

Some scientists studied teens for 7 years and concluded that many of them became depressed. Now for some reason, they decided that TV had something to do with the results.
[from Archives of General Psychiatry. 2009;66(2):181-188.]
"We used the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to investigate the relationship between electronic media exposure in 4142 adolescents who were not depressed at baseline and subsequent development of depression after 7 years of follow-up."
The researchers "did not find a consistent relationship between development of depressive symptoms and exposure to videocassettes, computer games, or radio." Darn. I was hoping they would prove that video games make kids depressed instead of turning them into homicidal maniacs.

But I don't see a control group of teens who had no electronic media exposure. If 7.4% of the participants suffered from depression after 7 years of TV and radio and video games, what do you think the percentage would be without any electronic media exposure at all? 90%? Then what would the researchers conclude? That books make teens depressed? I would think that just being scrutinized by researchers would make a kid depressed.

My guess is that a group of 4142 teens producing 308 depressed adults is pretty normal. But what do I know, since I've been watching 21 hours of TV a day for the last 39 years and I'm happy as a lark.