We live in a world of constant connectedness through the convenience of technology. And while technology has its issues, it has many solutions.

According to new research “social isolation and depression [has become more common] in older adults, with estimates suggesting almost 5 percent of adults aged 50 and above lived with major depression in 2015” (“Using Skype, 2018). This percentage can be linked to the passing of a spouse or from friends and family moving away.

But what keeps us more connected than the internet? A new study explored video communication, email, and other social network channels to evaluate how being connected online helped alleviate an individual’s depression symptoms due to social isolation. Researchers looked at these different forms of communication used by people 60 and older to see how it would help with their depressive symptoms (“Using Skype, 2018).

“Video chat came out as the undisputed champion….older adults who used video chat technology such as Skype had significantly lower risk of depression,” stated Alan Teo, associate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University (“Using Skype, 2018).

This result was found by surveying over a thousand survey participants, who answered questions about technology use. They then answered a follow-up survey a few years later to measure their depressive symptoms and overall emotional experience. Those who used video chat platforms had “almost half the estimated probability of depressive symptoms.” The other forms of communication, like email or text message, surprisingly provided no positive effect on depressive symptoms (“Using Skype, 2018).

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate a potential link between use of video chat and prevention of clinically significant symptoms of depression over two years in older adults,” stated the authors of the study (“Using Skype, 2018).

Reference: Oregon Health & Science University. (2018, November 19). Using Skype to beat the blues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 29, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181119160253.htm