What Your Instagram Account Says About Your Mental Health

Kelsey Clark

The way you post on social media can say a lot about you. From the link between relationship posts and low self-esteem to the even more concerning link between fitness posts and narcissism, psychologists can see right through your online humble-brag. Now, researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont are analyzing the way in which we filter Instagram photos, making some interesting connections between certain color palettes and mental health issues.

In fact, people who post blue, gray, or darker-toned Instagram photos were more likely to be depressed (hello, Inkwell filter). While turning to Instagram photos for psychological research may seem trivial, the team actually found the results to be significant enough to warrant further digging into Instagram as a tool for mental health diagnosis. This initial study asked 166 participants to fill out a standardized clinical depression survey, in addition to providing social media handles and data. The researchers analyzed a combined 43,950 Instagram photos from all 166 accounts, finding that those with depression or a history of depression posted darker, more muted photographs on the social media app.

When you consider the fact that artwork, including photography, has long been considered an avenue for emotional expression, this isn't all that surprising. Opting for darker hues on Instagram, however, could speak to a preferred style or aesthetic that has nothing to do with your mental health. Either way, further research is needed before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

Share your thoughts on the study below, and use your own Instagram photos as home décorno matter how dark or light.

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