Bad Habit Study links Facebook addiction to depression

In a small study of Facebook users in Poland, depression was one predictor of greater vulnerability to becoming dependent on using the social media site.

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If you're addicted to Facebook and indeed social media as a whole, then this is for you.

In a small study of Facebook users in Poland, depression was one predictor of greater vulnerability to becoming dependent on using the social media site.

According to Reuters, researchers recruited Polish Facebook users to answer questionnaires, including mental health tests, with the  main goal, as examining “potential associations” between Internet use in general, Facebook in particular and depression.

The study found that,

A large body of research  shows that Internet addiction often co-occurs with other disorders, such as depression, loneliness, sexual dysfunction, or other addictions, the main aim of our study was to answer the question of whether depression and daily Internet use time was related to Facebook intrusion.”

The study which was published in European Psychiatry with Agata Blachnio, a researcher at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin as lead researcher, defined Facebook intrusion as “excessive involvement in Facebook, disrupting day-today activities and interpersonal relationships.”

The team enrolled 672 native Polish-speaking participants between the ages of 15 and 75, with the average age of the participants being 28, and almost two thirds were women.

Each participant answered two questionnaires. One was designed to measure levels of Facebook intrusion, and the other to detect depression.

In the end, it was found that  the amount of time spent on the Internet daily was positively associated with levels of Facebook intrusion, and that Facebook intrusion was linked with higher depression scores.

However, time spent on the Internet every day was not linked to depression.

According to  Dr. Robert Cloninger, a psychiatrist with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis but who wasn't part of the study, people likely to become addicted to Facebook are those who are low in self directedness and high at novelty seeking, adding that these people use social media sites like Facebook as a substitute for meeting people face to face and keep other people at a distance.

Thus, Cloninger thinks a lot of people using Facebook in this manner are also vulnerable to being shamed and rejected.

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