What Do Your Social Media Posts Say About Your Mental Health?

By Devon Glenn 

Elizabeth Martin, doctoral student in MU’s psychological science department in the College of Arts and Science. Photo courtesy of MU.

Psychologists and therapists may one day use activity on social media sites like Facebook to gauge a patients’ mental health, according to a recent study.

Elizabeth Martin, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri, says that “Therapists could possibly use social media activity to create a more complete clinical picture of a patient. The beauty of social media activity as a tool in psychological diagnosis is that it removes some of the problems associated with patients’ self-reporting. For example, questionnaires often depend on a person’s memory, which may or may not be accurate. By asking patients to share their Facebook activity, we were able to see how they expressed themselves naturally. Even the parts of their Facebook activities that they chose to conceal exposed information about their psychological state.”

Her study, entitled “Social Networking Profile Correlates to Schizotypy,” was published in the journal Psychiatry Research.