Facebook Causing Depression? You May Need Less Successful Friends

Researchers have determined that too much Facebook can lead to envy and depression if used in a certain way. People who constantly check to compare their own lives to their friends, what the researchers call “surveillance use,” put themselves at risk. The researchers gave a few tips and facts that might help prevent Facebook depression.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, researchers at the University of Missouri gave a mixed review of Facebook in a study on human behavior in social media. According to MU Professor Margaret Duffy, the study showed that the social media site can be great, if used properly.

“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 … 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.”

CNN Money writer Cara Reedy used her own experience with Facebook depression as a telling example.

“I have come to the conclusion that Facebook is a lifestyle magazine featuring my friends, who are doing it better than me.”

The writer cites her friends’ babies, lovely homes, and beautiful dinners as examples of how their lives seem to exceed her own. Still, the CNN writer has one small comfort.

“My only consolation is sometimes my friends confuse ‘there,’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ in their posts about their lovely vacations and darling children. Then suddenly, I feel a little bit better about myself.”

The authors of the study insist that “social media awareness” is important to fighting those feelings of depression. Friends on Facebook often embellish their lives in pictures to give the impression of success.

Of course, many of the facts behind the pictures, like that they have babies or they went on vacation, are true. What the pictures don’t show is the copious amount of credit card debt from the vacation, or the yelling fights with the kids.

Study author Edson Tandoc explained that people need to be able to see through this positive self-presentation to keep feelings of envy and depression in check.

“Users should be self-aware that positive self-presentation is an important motivation in using social media, so it is to be expected that many users would only post positive things about themselves. This self-awareness, hopefully, can lessen feelings of envy.”

Of course, if that’s not enough and too much Facebook time still causes depression, you might just need less successful friends to compare with.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]