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Scientists: Intense Facebook interaction puts a strain on mental wellbeing

Scientists: Intense Facebook interaction puts a strain on mental wellbeing


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Mental well-being drops with intensive Facebook use
Social networks like Facebook are used to contact many billions of people worldwide online. The effects of this on users remain controversial. However, there are increasing indications that above all adverse effects on the psyche are to be expected. In a current study, scientists from the School of Medicine at the University of California found out that mental well-being drops significantly with intensive Facebook use.

Several scientific studies have already indicated possible negative effects of using Facebook. For example, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health recently came to the conclusion that social isolation increases with Facebook. In the current study, the scientists at the University of California have now demonstrated that Facebook interactions fundamentally reduce mental well-being. The researchers published their results in the journal "American Journal of Epidemiology".

Effects of online interaction examined
Face-to-face social interactions have been shown to improve well-being, the researchers report. However, the question of the effects of interaction via social networks on the Internet has arisen, according to the research team led by Holly B. Shakya from the School of Medicine at the University of California. With the ubiquity of social media, important questions have arisen about the effects of online social interaction. In their current study, the researchers therefore examined the possible effects of interaction in social networks (offline and online) on subjective well-being.

Mental wellbeing suffers from high Facebook interaction
Using data from 5,208 study participants, the researchers analyzed possible connections between Facebook use and interaction in real social networks "with self-reported physical health, self-reported mental health, self-reported life satisfaction and the body mass index." The result was clearly. The data analysis shows that the overall use of Facebook had a negative impact on well-being, the researchers report. For example, a one percent increase in interaction with “likes” was accompanied by a decrease by five to eight percent in self-reported mental health.

Adverse effect of virtual social networks
According to the researchers, the interactions in the real social networks showed a positive effect on well-being. However, the negative effects of using Facebook were comparable or greater than the positive effects of offline interactions, the research team continued. There may be some balance between the effects of real interaction and Facebook interaction here. Overall, however, the use of social networks on the Internet had an extremely adverse effect on well-being, which is in line with the results of previous studies, which among other things had found that the use of social networks can cause depression. Users should be aware of these adverse effects of the virtual social network and avoid excessive interaction via Facebook and Co if necessary. (fp)

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