As if we don’t already have enough cases of depression in the United States, now we can add Facebook Depression to that list. A recent study has found that the more time a person spends on the social network the more they feel as if their friends are happier then them and lead better, more exciting lives.
Reported by Miller-McCune the study also found that Facebook users who have “friends” they don’t actually know are more depressed since it adds to the feeling that everyone is “happier” then they are.
According to the provided research:
“The more hours people spent on Facebook, the stronger was their agreement that others were happier.”
The study also found that people who used the social network less typically found that “Life is fair.”
According to lead researcher and Utah Valley University sociologist Hui-Tzu Grace Chou, the change in attitude about our own lives is likely due to “correspondence bias” which occurs when someone assumes another person is happier then them because of happy pictures, happy status updates and other happy posts. Since a Facebook user can’t tell if the action of a friend is “all for show” they generally begin to feel bad about their own life.
The study confirmed it’s findings by talking to people who spend more time socializing with friends in real life. According to the projects author real life socialization leads to a less strong feeling that other people are happier then you.
The moral of the study? It’s fine to use Facebook, just remember to hop offline every now and again and spend time with your friends so you can realize they’re just as happy or miserable as you are.