Does Facebook Cause Anxiety?

Do you get a little down when you see a Facebook friend post about an engagement, a promotion, or significant achievement, feeling that your own life is a little boring by comparison? Or maybe you found you can't sleep as well in this golden age of social media. You're not alone. A U.K. study shows that always being plugged in could have negative effects on your mental health.

Do you get a little down when you see a Facebook friend post about an engagement, a promotion, or significant achievement, feeling that your own life is a little boring by comparison? Or maybe you found you can’t sleep as well in this golden age of social media. You’re not alone. A U.K. study shows that always being plugged in could have negative effects on your mental health.

The study, conducted by Salford Business School at the University of Salford for charity Anxiety UK, showed that 53 percent of nearly 300 polled felt that social media has changed their behavior. Of that subset, 51 percent said it has changed it for the worse, due to factors such as comparing themselves with others or becoming increasingly confrontational online with co-workers, significant others, and relatives. Although oddly enough, a study performed by San Diego State University and the University of Georgia found that Facebook can actually boost self-esteem.

We’re increasingly becoming addicted to being on the grid: 55 percent of those polled said they felt “worried or uncomfortable” when they could not access their Facebook or email accounts. More than 60 percent said they felt the need to turn off their devices and take a break, with roughly 33 percent saying they turned off phones or computers multiple times per day.

The Telegraph story covering the study mentioned another similar situation last year. The story compared those participants to smokers, as several people couldn’t go 24 hours without demanding their smartphones back.

Anxiety UK CEO Nicky Lidbetter commented on the link between technology and anxiety:

These findings suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it. If you are predisposed to anxiety, it seems that the pressures from technology act as a tipping point, making people feel more insecure and more overwhelmed.

Readers: Do you feel addicted to Facebook? Are you happier or sadder after logging on?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.