elderly woman on couch with laptop on lap

Online socializing may weaken the tie between pain and depression for older people, a U.S. study suggests. People in chronic pain are at risk of depression to start with. When pain makes them stay home more, interacting with friends and family less, it only adds to this risk, the researchers found. 

The 3,401 study participants were 67 or older, and all lived in the community rather than in a caregiving facility. About one-third lived alone, and 1,833, or 54 percent, said they’d been bothered by pain in the last month.

Among people with pain, the rate of depression was lower with social media use. Six percent of those who used social media also reported symptoms of depression, compared with 15 percent of those who didn’t use social media.

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