advertisement
Updated 15 August 2013

Facebook habits affect happiness

Research shows that Facebook has been associated with a decrease in life satisfaction among young adults.

3

Despite all the virtual socialising and "liking" involved, using Facebook is actually associated with a decline in happiness, according to a small new study.

"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection," lead author Ethan Kross, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, said.

"But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it," Kross said.

And, added study co-author John Jonides, "This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people's lives." Jonides is a cognitive neuroscientist at the university.

How the study was done

The study of 82 young adult Facebook users found that the more they used Facebook over a given time, the more their happiness and life satisfaction levels declined. In contrast, face-to-face interactions with others led participants to feel better over time.

The researchers did not find any evidence to support two possible explanations for their finding that Facebook undermines happiness. People were not more likely to use Facebook when they felt bad. And while people were more likely to use Facebook when they were lonely, loneliness and Facebook use both independently predicted subsequent levels of happiness.

"Thus, it was not the case that Facebook use served as a proxy for feeling bad or lonely," Kross said.

The study was published online on 14 August in the journal PLoS One.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about understanding emotions.

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

WomanNews

Has Facebook had a negative effect on your happiness? E-mail us your story.

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Dangerous winter sun »

Why female students ignore the risks of indoor tanning Can rooibos protect you from the effects of UVB exposure?

Skin cancer always a risk – even in winter

During winter, the risk of skin cancer doesn’t disappear. CyberDoc talks to us about when to see your doctor about a strange-looking mole or spot.

Did you know? »

The 5 saltiest foods may surprise you Craving salt? Your genes may be the reason

10 fascinating facts about salt

The one thing that fast foods, whether it be chips, hamburgers, pretzels or fried chicken have in common, is loads of salt.