A study, published this week on PLOS ONE by researchers from the University of Michigan, has unveiled a link between Facebook use and reduced levels of well-being.
Measuring affective well-being (how people feel) and cognitive well-being (how satisfied people are with their lives) by sending a selection of participants five text messages containing a link to an online survey every day for two weeks, linking any changes in mood to each participant’s Facebook use.
Containing such questions as ‘How lonely do you feel right now?’ and ‘How much have you interacted with people “directly” since the last time we asked?’, the online survey revealed that ‘the more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt ‘. Over the increased time span of two week, this observation was cumulative, leading to an overall decreased feeling of life satisfaction the longer each participant spent on the social networking site.
Contrary to common assumption, the study also suggested that instead of increasing a feeling of personal well-being, the amount of Facebook friends someone has doesn’t halt any bad feelings, regardless of how supportive they perceive their social network to be.