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Mental Health Affected by Facebook?

The more you use Facebook the worse you feel? Check out this Study

Is mental health affected if you’re addicted to Facebook? Enjoy liking posts and making comments? Be warned, a new psychology study has found the more people use Facebook the lower their self-esteem becomes.

mental health

Before exploring the new psychological research, how much time does a typical person spend each day using Facebook? The answer, based on an average user, is one hour on the site every day. This is based on data provided by Mark Zuckerberg’s company (relating to 2016 use and as reported by the New York Times).

A second thing to factor in is not just how often does a regular person spend on Facebook, but when? A Deloitte survey found that for many people check-out Facebook, along with other social media apps, first thing in the morning (and quite often before getting out of bed).


These findings infer that many people are dedicated to the use of social sites like Facebook.Overall the use of social media and Facebook does no harm and some studies suggest moderate use may actually be good for our mental health, especially when we engage with the online community (such as a classic paper from the Journal of Urban Health “Social ties and mental health.”)


However, things can go awry. Writing in the Harvard Business Review Holly B. Shakya (University of San Diego) and Nicholas A. Christakis (Yale University) describe how the use of social media can detract from face-to-face relationships, lower the amount of time we put into meaningful activities, make use more sedentary, trigger Internet addiction, and, importantly, erode self-esteem.



mental health

Mental Health

The lower self-esteem comes about via making unfavorable social comparisons. Often we measure our own lives against others. When this is far away celebrities this matters less than when it is Facebook friends.In the article, the researchers write: “Self-comparison can be a strong influence on human behavior, and because people tend to display the most positive aspects of their lives on social media, it is possible for an individual to believe that their own life compares negatively to what they see presented by others.


“To assess whether people with lower well-being are more likely to use social media, rather than social media causing lower well-being, the researchers conducted a study. For the research data from 5,208 adults was analyzed. This considered social media use against measures like life satisfaction, mental health, physical health, and body-mass index (BMI). With the social media dimension, the survey assessed the degree to which Facebook users liked other people’s posts, created their own posts, and clicked on links. Account was taken as to how ‘close’ Facebook users felt to the ‘Facebook friends’ they engaged with.


The findings showed that social networks can be positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook in particular was negatively associated with overall well-being. This of course depends on the individuals and how much time they spent online and what they engaged with. However, as a general trend those who consistently liked others’ content and clicked on links general reported a reduction in physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.


For good mental health a better self-esteem, the researchers argue for a tradeoff between offline and online relationships.The findings are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, in a paper titled “Association of Facebook Use With Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study.”


“According to the ‘Fair Use’ clause of International Copyright Law, the authors declare that the use of the photos, videos and information in this academic research are analyzed for purposes of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research” according to Section 107 of Title 17 of the US Code.”
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