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Social Media Use Doesn't Increase Stress

Unwinding With Social Media


It’s easy and somewhat logical to blame social media for increasing stress. We’re living in a world where virtually all the information about your friends, family and everyone on the periphery is right out in the open, for better or worse. As it turns out, there might be less weight to that claim than people think. 

Time have reported that a study of 1801 US citizens by Washington-based think tank Pew Research has revealed that there is no link between increased stress levels and frequent social media use. Moreover, female users actually reported less stress overall. 

Perhaps less surprisingly, frequent social media users reported being distinctly more aware of the stressful events people around them are going through. It varies, but often when something difficult or tragic happens in someone’s life, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms make it all the more evident. 

“Women with an average-sized Facebook network were aware of 13% more stressful events in their close friends’ lives and aware of 14% more in the lives of acquaintances. Men were 8% more aware of stressful events in their friends’ lives and 6% more aware of events in their acquaintances’ lives.” 

– Alexandra Sifferlin, Time 

Knowing about all the unpleasant things happening around you can in fact lead to elevated stress levels in some, so effectively, social media is far more likely to cause stress via empathy than in any other way. Interestingly, news about a death in the family or other similar events proved to be a more significant cause of stress for women, whilst for men finding out about someone having difficulty at work or being accused of committing a crime was more difficult. 

Presumptions about social media use raising blood pressure are usually based around the idea of ‘missing out’, seeing an endless play-by-play of other people’s experiences as they move up the career ladder, get married, have children, go travelling and whatever else. Evidently the benefits of using such platforms balance things out. In fact, having a means to compartmentalise your social life into rolling feed might well remove a great deal of social uncertainty – which is definitely a major stress inducer. 


News like this doesn't necessarily mean that you should delve into social media platforms with even more reckless abandon than usual, but it certainly speaks for the fringe benefits of taking your personal life online.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Social Media Use Doesn't Increase Stress Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, January 26, 2015 Rating: 5
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