Article Information

THE ROLE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN OVERCOMING DEPRESSION: THE CASE OF STUDENTS FROM SAINT PETERSBURG

Maria Glukhova (mglukhova@eu.spb.ru)

European University at Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Glukhova M. (2021) Rol' tsifrovykh tekhnologiy v preodolenii depressii: keys studentov Sankt-Peterburga [The role of digital technologies in overcoming depression: the case of students from Saint Petersburg]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 24(2): 31–55 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2021.24.2.2

Abstract. Digital technologies have transformed the traditional context of disease management by providing people with new sources of health information, ways to communicate with doctors and opportunities to manage disease symptoms. The widespread adoption of digital medicine has fueled an active scientific debate about the impact of digital technologies on health perceptions and ways of caring for individual health. However, at this time little is known about how new technological solutions are being used by people to cope with specific diseases in their daily lives. The article discusses strategies for applying digital technologies in the context of experiencing depression. The empirical basis of the study was made up of 22 in-depth semi-structured interviews with St. Petersburg students who faced depression during their studies. The findings were processed using thematic analysis. The analysis identified three main themes that reflect key strategies for using digital technology to overcome depression: seeking health information, gaining social support, and managing depression symptoms. Research has shown that digital technology is becoming an integral part of the experience of this disease. It is noteworthy that new technological solutions create conditions for overcoming depression on their own, which often turns out to be a more preferable strategy for St. Petersburg students compared to appealing to medical professionals. However, digital technology is currently not a complete substitute for medical treatment or traditional self-healing practices.

Keywords: depression, digital technologies, youth, interviews, sociology of medicine and health, digital health.

Acknowledgements

The text was prepared with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project no. 20-013-00770A “Digital and biomedical technologies in health care practices: the Russian context”.

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