Social media use does not increase stress: study

Washington, Jan 18: Facebook and Twitter users do not experience increased stress than non-users, but are more aware of negative events in their friends' lives, a new study has found.

The study by the Pew Research Centre surveyed the stress levels of 1,801 adults with the widely used Perceived Stress Scale, which asks questions designed to measure the degree to which people feel their lives are overloaded, unpredictable and uncontrollable.


Researchers then asked people for details about their social media use, such as which platforms they use, how much time they spend with each one, how many connections they have and how often they comment or share, reported.

The results showed that many females who use Twitter, email and mobile photo sharing actually reported being less stressed than those who did not.

"There is no evidence in our data that social media users feel more stress than people who use digital technologies less or not at all," said co-author Keith Hampton at Rutgers University.

Men reported less overall stress in their lives: 7 per cent lower than women. But they did not report a similar drop in stress levels tied to their use of social media.

The report also suggests that social media can make users more aware of negative events in the lives of friends and family. When users learn about these problems, they in turn feel additional stress they might have otherwise avoided.

"When users find out about really distressing things in their friends' lives, it can take its toll," said the Pew Research Centre's Lee Rainie.


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