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Understanding Social Media Information Sharing in Individuals with Depression: Insights from the Elaboration Likelihood Model and Schema Activation Theory.

PURPOSE: How individuals engage with social media can significantly impact their psychological well-being. This study examines the impact of social media interactions on mental health, grounded in the frameworks of the Elaboration Likelihood Model and Schema Activation Theory. It aims to uncover behavioral differences in information sharing between the general population and individuals with depression, while also elucidating the psychological mechanisms underlying these disparities.

METHODS: A pre-experiment (N=30) and three experiments (Experiment 1a N=200, Experiment 1b N=180, Experiment 2 N=128) were executed online. These experiments investigated the joint effects of information quality, content valence, self-referential processing, and depression level on the intention to share information. The research design incorporated within-subject and between-subject methods, utilizing SPSS and SPSS Process to conduct independent sample t-tests, two-factor ANOVA analyses, mediation analyses, and moderated mediation analyses to test our hypotheses.

RESULTS: Information quality and content valence significantly influence sharing intention. In scenarios involving low-quality information, individuals with depression are more inclined to share negative emotional content compared to the general population, and this tendency intensifies with the severity of depression. Moreover, self-referential processing acts as a mediator between emotional content and intention to share, yet this mediation effect weakens as the severity of depression rises.

CONCLUSION: Our study highlights the importance of promoting viewpoint diversity and breaking the echo chamber effect in social media to improve the mental health of individuals with depression. To achieve this goal, tailoring emotional content on social media could be a practical starting point for practice.

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