Teens’ depressive symptoms were associated with screen-based activities, including social messaging and web surfing, and were brought about by sleep deprivation and insomnia, according to research presented at SLEEP 2018 in Baltimore, reports Healio.

“We are excited about our findings because they merge three important areas of adolescent research: screen time, sleep disturbances and depressive symptoms,” Lauren Hale, PhD, professor of family, population and preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “While this is only an observational study and we are not able show causality, it does show that above and beyond depressive symptoms at age 9, higher daily screen time and sleep disturbances are associated with more depressive symptoms at age 15.”

Hale and colleagues used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study teen survey to gather data from 3,134 adolescents (mean age, 15.63 years; 51% boys). Insomnia symptoms, including problems falling asleep and staying asleep, habitual weeknight sleep duration and depressive symptoms were included in survey questions.