A new study reveals that there is a link between Facebook use and symptoms of depression.
According to a study done by the University of Houston, users who spend quite a bit of time looking at their Facebook “may inevitably begin comparing what’s happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends.”
The researcher, Mai-Ly Steers, conducted two studies to further investigate the social comparison and its impact on psychological health. Both studies found evidence that users felt depressed when they compared themselves to others over the social media site.
“It doesn’t mean Facebook causes depression, but that depressed feelings and lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand,” said Steers.
Steers goes on to explain how Facebook gives us more information that we wouldn’t normally be privy to, so we are given more opportunities that we normally would to socially compare. Also not knowing what someone is going to post makes it hard to control the impulse to compare while scrolling through your feed.
“Most of our Facebook friends tend to post about the good things that occur in their lives, while leaving out the bad. If we’re comparing ourselves to our friends’ ‘highlight reels,’ this may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives,” added Steers.
The study also shows that people who are already afflicted with emotional difficulties may be more susceptible to symptoms of depression.
However, the researcher says Facebook does not cause depression, nor should you stop using it competely. The results are to help people understand that there are good and bad consequences to technology and those are at risk for depression may want to reduce their Facebook use.