Use of social networking sites (SNS), social integration and social support in Indian medical students: a cross sectional investigation
Keywords:Medical students, Social networking sites (SNS), Social integration, Social support
Background: Internet mainstreamed virtual socialization on social networking sites (SNS). Social relationship variables are linked to health. We investigated the social relationship variables and SNS use among medical students.
Methods: After institutional ethics committee approval, we invited 150 random undergraduate medical students and 150 postgraduate resident doctors from a medical college. Regular SNS users were included and those suffering from any psychiatric or chronic medical condition were excluded from the study. Of all the invited individuals, 104 undergraduates (56 females and 48 males) and 103 postgraduates (50 females and 53 males) consented for study.
Results: Facebook was the most commonly and regularly used SNS in our study sample. Daily average time spent by participants on SNS was 40 minutes. Mean number of SNS friends of undergraduates was 150 and of postgraduates was 143. Undergraduate medical students reported an average of 49 friends living locally and 74 friends living at a distance; postgraduate resident doctors reported average 80 friends living locally and 325 friends living at a distance. Undergraduates sought attention more frequently than postgraduates by posting photos to SNS. Postgraduates had their recreation and academics were more affected due to SNS than undergraduates. Number of SNS friends had no association with social integration, social support or social stress.
Conclusions: SNS may hamper the curricular as well as recreational activities of medicos, especially postgraduate resident doctors. The number of SNS friends is independent of a medico’s social integration and may not be associated with social support and social stress.
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