Heavy social media use may be linked to increase in tic severity

Young girl looks at phone

Researchers found a significant correlation between an increase in tic severity and reduced quality of life with increased social media use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A small, preliminary study by University of Florida researchers reported that an increase in social media use among teens during the COVID-19 pandemic may be linked to an increase in tic severity and frequency.

The study, highlighted today by the American Academy of Neurology, surveyed 20 participants ages 11-21 who were experiencing tics. Key findings from the survey, included:

  • 90% reported using social media more frequently during the pandemic
  • 50% reported that social media negatively impacted their tics
  • 85% reported that their tic frequencies worsened during the pandemic

The study was led by Jessica Frey, M.D., a movement disorders fellow, and Irene Malaty, M.D., a professor of neurology.

“Our results have begun to shed light on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and increased social media use may be having on teens and young adults with tic disorders,” Frey said.

Read the American Academy of Neurology news release.
UF News March 4, 2022