by Lisa Frederiksen
I was so intrigued by Melissa Steffan’s blog post titled, “Diagnosing Problem Drinking Via Facebook,” appearing as the Washington Post.com’s October 7 entry on its Ideas@Innovations blog. As the blog’s tag line reads, “It’s all about what’s next.” The following direct quotes from Ms Steffan’s post caught my attention — to be able to screen college students and possibly prevent alcoholism through social media…
“…Moreno, along with researchers from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI), uncovered an association between alcohol references on Facebook and alcohol addiction in college students ages 18 to 20.
According to the study, published on Oct. 3, students who refer to alcohol use and drunkenness on Facebook are more likely to be at risk for problem drinking. This indicates the way Facebook and other social networking sites could possibly be used identify behavioral problems that might go otherwise unreported.” ["Diagnosing Problem Drinking Via Facebook"]
“…The study’s results suggest that a health-care provider can use consistent clinical criteria to evaluate a patient, whether in a treatment center or on social networking sites like Facebook. This novel approach also opens the door for other adults, such as resident advisers in dorms, to identify, report, and intervene in the lives of at-risk students.
“It allows those of us that care about adolescents to look more into their world and be available when they need it,” Christakis said.” ["Diagnosing Problem Drinking Via Facebook"]