Facebook causes serious stress and depression. Find out how.
Authentic portrayal of yourself can lead to positive psychological outcomes, such as higher self-esteem and subjective well-being.
Facebook is a useful tool in connecting people together, no matter who or where they are in the world. As a result, it’s become one of the most recognisable brands and one of the most powerful names today.
But like all things, Facebook has its downsides, too.
According to a study from researchers from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, stress and depression are some of Facebook’s negative effects.
Especially if you’re not presenting your true and authentic self on the website.
"Less emotional labour is required to present oneself authentically on Facebook; therefore, it results in less stress," said researchers Rachel Grieve and Jarrah Watkinson.
Moreover, authentic portrayal of yourself can lead to positive psychological outcomes, such as higher self-esteem and subjective well-being, greater psychological well-being.
For those who are unable to present their true selves online, and in the process creating instead an idealised version of themselves and their lives, they may experience, anxiety, depression, and lower life-satisfaction, among others.
The study’s focus group comprised of 164 participants ages 18 to 55 who had to fill out a series of personality questionnaires. The first set of questions measured their humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.
The second test measured the same qualities, but were asked questions about how they portray themselves online.
Results showed that those whose online and real-life personas are similar experienced less stress, and that they felt more comfortable expressing themselves online.
The reason for it is this: instead of presenting who they really are to their online peers, those who project a different persona carefully pick and choose the best and most flattering version of their image.
This, in the long run, breeds dissatisfaction in their own lives.
“As of the second quarter of 2016, active Facebook users totalled 1.71 billion,” said Brenda K. Wiederhold from Virtual Reality Medical Institute in Brussels, Belgium. “As such, we must consider how Facebook may serve as a tool to positively impact our patients' lives.”
Meanwhile, the researchers pointed out that "it might be fruitful to consider the potential utility of Facebook in reducing stress and enhancing social connectedness.”
The paper published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking.