Facebook seems harmless enough, however a new study suggests that for those who spend a great deal of time on the social media site, it could be negatively impacting their mental health. This generally results from users seeing posts from their friends that they are envious of, which may result in feelings associated with depression. Obviously, this only happens in some users, certainly not all, and typically those who spend a lot of time on Facebook.
Feelings of Envy Could Lead to Depression
Dr. Margaret Duffy, journalism professor at the University of Missouri and co-author of the study, says they found that when Facebook users allowed themselves to become envious over other people’s posts, it sometimes led to feelings of depression. While Facebook still remains a positive resource for most people, it can become a negative thing when it is used to measure the quality of your own life against that of others.
Details of The Study
The study performed included over 700 college students who used the social media site for at least two hours a day. Those who participated were asked to complete a survey which asked how much they use the social media site, as well as asked questions regarding their opinions about statements related to feelings of envy and depression. The questions were geared to relate to posts other people may put on Facebook, for example, asking if it seems unfair that some people get to have all the fun, etc. Other questions related to statements that might indicate feelings of depression. The study did not indicate that the heavy use of Facebook actually caused depression in some people, but rather showed a relationship between the people who experienced feelings of envy towards others after reading their Facebook posts were more likely to relate to some of the statements associated with feelings of depression.
What Does This Mean?
After reading this, you might be asking should we quit Facebook if it is causing thee types of problems? The answer is entirely up to the individual. Some people can read about their friends’ new luxury home, or their fabulous vacation and be just fine. In fact, they may even feel happy for them. But for those people who attempt to compare their lives to others and feel they just don’t measure up, if they are prone to depression, they might want to spend less time reading about other people’s success and happiness. Keep in mind too, that many people tend to glamorize things on Facebook and their life might not really be that rosy.
This is not the first of such studies to be done. Other research from the past has showed that Facebook can negatively impact how people feel about themselves, while still other research claimed that time spent on the social media site can actually make you happier.
What it all boils down is that most people can use Facebook with no issues. However, if you find yourself feeling sad, envious, or bummed out after spending a lot of time on Facebook, consider limiting your time on the site, or perhaps taking a break from it. You might also need to tweak your friends’ list if you find it’s just one or two people bringing you down. Realizing that most people are probably making their life sound a little sweeter than it actually is can also help to lessen envious feelings.
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