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Study: Spending too much time on Facebook could drive you mad

How Facebook users use the site makes a difference in how they respond to it.

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It’s no secret that spending countless hours creeping on your Facebook friends isn’t good for your health, but according to a recent study, the proof is in the pudding.

Researchers found that hefty doses of Facebook could make some people harbor deep feelings of envy, which can eventually turn into depression.

Facebook Depression

Margret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication at the MU School of Journalism, said in a statement, “Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives,” Duffy said. “However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship—things that cause envy among users—use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.”

The study surveyed over 700 college students from University of Missouri. The students used Facebook for an average of two hours a day, everyday. The average user was 19 years-old.

According to a report by the Huffington Post, “participants filled out a survey indicating how much they use Facebook and what they do on the social network. They were also asked to rate how much they agreed with statements linked to feelings of envy, such as, “I generally feel inferior to others,” or “It somehow doesn’t seem fair that some people seem to have all the fun.” Then, participants rated how much they agreed with phrases that corresponded to depression, such as, “I was bothered by things that usually don’t bother me” and “I talked less than usual.”

“We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression,” study co-author Dr. Margaret Duffy, a University of Missouri journalism professor, said in a press release. “Facebook can be a very positive resource for many people, but if it is used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect. “

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