Looking at Facebook can make you miserable, university claims

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

August 16, 2013 | 2 min read

Young adults feel less happy the more they check their Facebook page, new research from the University of Michigan has found.

The study saw a group of young people being sent text messages throughout the day asking how they were feeling and if they had used Facebook since they were last contacted. The more the participants used Facebook during the period of time between being contacted, they worse they felt.

The researchers said that they found no evidence that people used Facebook when they felt unhappy already; although people were more likely to go on Facebook if they were feeling lonely.

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

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

The research monitored 82 young adults for two weeks, contacting them five times a day between 10am and midnight to fill in an online questionnaire asking questions such as 'How much have you used Facebook since the last time we asked?' and 'How much have you interacted with other people “directly” since the last time we asked?'

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

Before and after taking part, participants had to complete a number of questionnaires, including the Beck Depression Inventory and the Social Provision Scale.

All participants were asked why they used Facebook, with 98 per cent agreeing they use the site to keep in touch with friends, 78 per cent saying they use the platform to share good things with friends, and a third (36 per cent) using Facebook to share bad things with friends.


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +