Is Facebook Ruining Your Life?


“Everyday Facebook use leads to declines in subjective well-being, both how happy you feel moment to moment and how satisfied you feel with your life,” Ethan Kross, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan told ABC News

Kross and and a team of researchers analyzed the moods and habits of 82 young adults with active Facebook accounts over the course of two weeks. They monitored their Facebook usage and texted them five times a day, at random intervals, to get feedback about their feelings and moods: how lonely, worried, or happy they were feeling.

Unsurprisingly, they found that Facebook users were more connected with friends and acquaintances than people who aren’t on the social networking site. However, despite the added connection between friends, people who used the site more frequently were found to feel worse immediately after logging off. 

The researchers attribute this to a sense of "social comparison" -- a feeling that someone is always living a more exciting, glamorous, happy life than you. 

"People feel left out," said. Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University told ABC News. "There is a fantasy -- this imagination or fantasy -- that other people's lives are better. Facebook keeps people in the know about what other people are doing, but also about what they themselves are not doing."

But, Facebook's negative side effects aren't limited to a sense of feeling left-out. Other studies have proven that the site can lead to a variety of unfavorable emotions. 

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

Cristina Mari Arreola is the Associate Editor. Originally from El Paso, Texas, she earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to New York City. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or frantically reading a novel from her (extremely lengthy) reading list. See what she's reading now on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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