Posted on Sun, 22 Sep 13
Flying in the face of idea that Facebook enhances wellbeing through social connection a recent study suggests it may in fact be undermining your health.
Over half a billion people log into Facebook daily, yet there are no studies that have examined how this new way of interacting may be influencing our happiness.
For the first time a research group set out to see what effect Facebook use has on subjective well-being, a measure of mental and emotional health that also predicts physical health and longevity.
By text-messaging people five times per day for two-weeks to see how people were feeling, then correlating their feelings with their Facebook use the researchers found that “the more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time.”
In other words, Facebook use appeared to negatively influence how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they were with their lives.
“The human need for social connection is well established, as are the benefits that people derive from such connections” commented the research group. “On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive “offline” social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.”
Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, Park J, Lee DS, Lin N, Shablack H, Jonides J, Ybarra O. Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e69841.