Heavy Facebook use linked to "depressive feelings"
Comparison is the thief of joy, said Theodore Roosevelt. And social media has made comparisons with others that much easier. Now research at the University of Houston suggests that heavy use of Facebook can lead to “depressive feelings” because of the comparisons it encourages with the lives of others.
The researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, conducted two studies, and both suggested that Facebook users felt depressed when they compared themselves to their peers. The researchers said that doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook causes depression, but that “depressed feelings and spending lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand.”
According to those leading the study, a difference between traditional social comparisons, which tend to occur during face-to-face situations, and those on social media is that with the latter, a person has no influence over what another person may say about his or her life. Also, the fact that postings on Facebook tend to focus on the positive things in the lives of others can make people feel worse about their own lives.
The researchers believe that for people already experiencing emotional problems, being faced with only positive views of their friends’s lives may increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. They recommended that people living with depression should consider limiting their exposure to Facebook and other social media platforms.