Vol 72, No 1 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2021-03-29

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Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

Effect of daily social media exposure on anxiety and depression disorders among cargo seafarers: a cross-sectional study

Arianne A. Zamora1, Zypher Jude G. Regencia2, Marilyn E. Crisostomo3, Guido Van Hal1, Emmanuel S. Baja24
Pubmed: 33829474
IMH 2021;72(1):55-63.


Background: Several studies have linked social media use to increased risks for anxiety and depression. Cargo seafaring is one occupation prone to constant mental health instability due to workload, social isolation, and harsh working conditions. We examined the effect of daily social media exposure, occupational experience, and socioeconomic factors on anxiety and depression disorders among cargo seafarers.

Materials and methods: We assessed the anxiety and depression disorders of 153 cargo seafarers using Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scales. We fitted generalised linear models to estimate associations between depression and anxiety disorders and daily social media exposure, occupational experience, and socioeconomic factors.

Results: Approximately 30% and 37% of the seafarers had mild, moderate, or severe anxiety and depression disorders. The prevalence of anxiety was 2.68 times higher (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 2.68, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.30–5.50) and 2.27 times higher (aPR 2.27; 95% CI 1.12–4.62) among seafarers who spend > 2 to 4 hours and > 4 hours each day, respectively, on social media compared to seafarers who spend only up to 2 hours. In addition, seafarers who were on social media daily for > 2 to 4 hours (aPR 1.49; 95% CI 0.86–2.60) and > 4 hours (aPR 1.34; 95% CI 0.75–2.40) had a higher prevalence of depression compared to seafarers who were on social media daily for only up to 2 hours. Non-Catholics or seafarers with ≤ 10 years of occupational experience had a higher prevalence for anxiety and depression disorders than Catholics or seafarers with > 10 years of occupational experience.

Conclusions: Daily social media exposure for > 2 hours, working for ≤ 10 years, or being a non-Catholic may contribute to the increase in the seafarers’ susceptibility to depression and anxiety disorders. The establishment of support groups for cargo seafarers is warranted to promote mental health awareness and well-being.

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