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Study: Facebook Use Predicts Decline In Happiness

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(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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ANN ARBOR, MI (CBS) – A new study shows that Facebook may help people feel connected, but it doesn’t make them any happier.

In fact, according to the research, which was conducted by the University of Michigan, Facebook use actually predicts a decline in a person’s well-being.

The study used 82 young adults, all of whom had smartphones and Facebook accounts. The researchers then used experience-sampling to measure how the users think, felt and behaved by texting them at random times five days a week for two weeks. Each text contained a link to an online survey with five questions, including how the Facebook user felt at that moment, how worried he/she was and how lonely the user felt at that time.

The study concluded that the more the subjects used Facebook during one time period, the worse they felt.

Additionally, researchers had the test subjects rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study. They found that the more participants used Facebook over the research period, the more their life satisfaction levels decreased.

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” said U-M social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article and a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).”But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it.”

Researchers clarified that they found no evidence that people were more likely to use Facebook when they felt bad, and stated that loneliness and Facebook use both independently predicted how happy test participants felt.

The researchers say they hope to conduct further studies with participants from a wider age range so that they can see if the results can be generalized.

To read the full article, visit: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

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