by Charles Raison, MD on August 28, 2013 – 10:50am
How can the 500 million people who use Facebook on a daily basis be wrong? Why would so many people use social media if it didn’t do something positive for their lives?
And yet a just-published study in the journal PloS One suggests that we might want to think twice about going online to update others about our lives or find out about what they are up to in theirs. It appears that the more often we give in to this urge (or temptation, for many of us), the less happy we are likely to be on a moment-by-moment basis and the less satisfied we are likely to be with our lives in general.
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers randomly text-messaged people five times per day over two weeks, asking each time how they felt at that moment and how satisfied they were with their lives. The researchers found that the more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time they were text-messaged. In addition, the more they used Facebook over the two-week study period, the less satisfied they were with their lives at the end of this time.
Charles L. Raison, MD, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and the Barry and Janet Lang Associate Professor of Integrative Mental Health in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. He is also the behavioral health expert for CNN.com, and he is a Psych Congress Steering Committee member.