Report: Facebook Fanatics Are Probably Miserable

Dennis Faas's picture

It would seem at least somewhat logical to equate the number of one's Facebook friends with their overall happiness. The more Facebook friends, the more events one is invited to, the more pals to consult in times of stress. But a new study says that's not true, and indicates instead that the people with the most Facebook friends appear to be the least happy of all site members.

The study comes to us from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Researchers interviewed about 200 students to find out how Facebook use can be connected to one's overall mood. In their final report, these researchers found that, "for a significant number of users, the negative effects of Facebook outweigh the benefits of staying in touch with friends and family." (Source:

This seems to indicate that, for some people, using Facebook is a lot like being crowded around the dining table at Christmas time. It's a stressful environment.

Pressure to be on Facebook: Too Much

Researchers found that the people who spent the most time on Facebook were also those feeling the greatest stress in their day to day lives. One of the professors behind the study, Dr. Kathy Charles, says it's strange to see that many Facebook users admit feeling a need to be on the site but can't name many benefits to doing so.

"For instance, although there is great pressure to be on Facebook, there is also considerable ambivalence among users about its benefits," Charles said.

Fewer Friends, Better Feeling about Facebook

There is a great deal of social anxiety involved in a Facebook membership. 32 per cent of respondents said they felt guilty to reject a friend request, while another 12 per cent said the site, in general, made them feel anxious and upset.

Here's a way to put this in perspective. Those who said using Facebook made them feel anxious had an average of 117 Facebook friends. Those who replied that this was not the case had an average of just 75 friends. (Source:

So, why not just give up and delete one's membership? Well, it's hard to do that when everyone else is online.

Facebook has become a critical social hub for many people, who are afraid that leaving the site could leave them out in the cold when new events arise. "Like gambling, Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good," Charles said.

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