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Lack of Sample Diversity in Research on Adolescent Depression and Social Media Use: A Scoping Review and Meta-Analysis
Ghai, S., FASSI, L., Awadh, F., and ORBEN, A.
Clinical Psychological Science
Year of publication:
Research on whether social media use relates to adolescent depression is rapidly increasing. However, is it adequately representing the diversity of global adolescent populations? We conducted a preregistered scoping review (research published between 2018 and 2020; 34 articles) to investigate the proportion of studies recruiting samples from the Global North versus Global South and assess whether the association between social media and depression varies depending on the population being studied. Sample diversity was lacking between regions: More than 70% of studies examined Global North populations. The link between social media and depression was positive and significant in the Global North but null and nonsignificant in the Global South. There was also little evidence of diversity within regions in both sampling choices and reporting of participants’ demographics. Given that most adolescents live in the Global South and sample diversity is crucial for the generalizability of research findings, urgent action is needed to address these oversights.