Appearance satisfaction mediates the relationship between recreational screen time and depressive symptoms in adolescents
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Research suggests there is an association between high levels of recreational screen time and depression among adolescents; however, mechanisms driving this association remain unknown. The present study examined appearance and weight satisfaction and disordered eating behaviors as mediators in the relationship between recreational screen time and depressive symptoms in adolescents.
Longitudinal data on screen time, depressive symptoms, disordered eating behaviors, and appearance and weight satisfaction from 304 adolescents (194 females, Mage = 13.40) were analyzed through a moment structure model.
Results revealed appearance dissatisfaction mediated the direct effect of recreational screen time on depressive symptoms (Estimate = 0.48, SE = .18, 95% CI [0.12, 0.84]), and that recreational screen time was significantly related to lower appearance satisfaction (Estimate = -0.06, SE = .02, 95% CI [-0.10, -0.01]), which was significantly predictive of more severe depressive symptoms (Estimate = -1.49, SE = .62, 95% CI [-2.71, -0.28]).
These findings suggest that modulating screen time may be an efficacious strategy to reduce appearance dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms during adolescence.