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Effect of social media on mental health during Covid-19 lockdowns in India

Citation

Gupta, Saptorshi; Ganguly, Ayan (2021), Effect of social media on mental health during Covid-19 lockdowns in India, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0cfxpnw32

Abstract

As the COVID-19 pandemic restricted individuals to their houses for a substantial amount of time, people took to the virtual world to stay connected with their peers, family and friends. Likewise, news channels and other forms of electronic media also witnessed a steep rise in viewership all across the globe. That being said, social media has led to adverse impacts on the mental health of individuals through addiction, stress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndromes.

The primary objective of this data is to analyze both the positive and negative effects of social media usage on individuals during an unprecedented global lockdown. Existing literature has found significant connections between the use of social media and mental health during extensive periods of lockdown (Swarnam. S., 2021; Pragholapat, A., 2020., Hong, W. et al., 2020). This dataset is used to understand the extent of depression and anxiety experienced by persons restricted to stay-at-home confinements during the deadly second wave of Covid-19 lockdown in India. Information has also been collected to associate social media usage during a lockdown and suicidal tendencies if any.

Methods

Written informed consent was obtained from the study participants, and the authors conducted structured interviews using Google forms. The data was collected using a questionnaire which was saved digitally and later used for analysis. In particular, the questionnaire asked a few generic questions (Columns B-E) about gender, age-range (in completed years), social media platforms used by the subjects, time spent on social media (in hours). Among the 136 respondents who had willingly participated in the study, 55.14% (n=75) were males, and 44.85% (n=61) were females. Most of the respondents were from the age group 18-21 years (44.85%). About 99% of the respondents (n=135) reported using WhatsApp, followed by Youtube (82%) and Facebook (77%). 

The second part of the questionnaire was based on questions relating to the association of mental health and social media usage (Columns F-Q) - if they have faced mental health issues, if subjects talk about their mental health on social media, and so on. 24.26% of the respondents (n=33) believed that Twitter was the most helpful social media website for opening up on mental health. The sample data presented an alarming rate of 32.35% (n=44) of the people who have faced mental health issues during the lockdown. Out of these, only about 66% preferred to confront mental health issues directly, whereas 4% chose social media to discuss mental health. More detailed information on the behaviour of respondents while dealing with mental health crises of themselves and their acquaintances can be found in the dataset.

Usage Notes

The missing values in Columns O and Q are denoted by 'NA'. The missing values correspond to the situation when the subjects have not come across social media posts or suicidal status during Coivd-19 and thus did not face any situation which required their help.