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  1. #1
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    Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression?

    Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression
    Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health
    June 4, 2015

    (Reuters Health) - In a small study of Facebook users in Poland, depression was one predictor of greater vulnerability to becoming dependent on using the social media site.

    So-called Facebook intrusion is similar to an addiction, but the emphasis is on the way a person's relationships with others are affected. Being young, male and spending a lot of time online also predicted a greater likelihood of unhealthy dependence on Facebook.

    "We know a little bit already about Facebook usage and personality," said Dr. Robert Cloninger, a psychiatrist with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who wasn't involved in the study.

    Cloninger told Reuters Health that he is concerned the study didn't properly take personality traits into consideration.

    "If you are introverted and socially shy, then your social skills may not be very good," he said. "So using your intelligence to navigate the Internet allows you to create an image that may not be very accurate, but that gets you social contacts - it's like you can kind of live a lie or a fantasy on the Internet."

    For the study published May 8 in European Psychiatry, Agata Blachnio, a researcher at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and her colleagues recruited Polish Facebook users to answer questionnaires, including mental health tests. The main goal, Blachnio's team writes, was to examine "potential associations" between Internet use in general, Facebook in particular and depression.

    "A large body of research . . . shows that Internet addiction often co-occurs with other disorders, such as depression, loneliness, sexual dysfunction, or other addictions," the study team writes. "The main aim of our study was to answer the question of whether depression and daily Internet use time was related to Facebook intrusion."

    They define Facebook intrusion as "excessive involvement in Facebook, disrupting day-today activities and interpersonal relationships."

    Blachnio and her colleagues enrolled 672 native Polish-speaking participants between the ages of 15 and 75. The average age of the participants was about 28, and almost two thirds were women.

    Each participant answered two questionnaires. One was designed to measure levels of Facebook intrusion, and the other to detect depression.

    The study team found that the amount of time spent on the Internet daily was positively associated with levels of Facebook intrusion, and that Facebook intrusion was linked with higher depression scores. But time spent on the Internet every day was not linked to depression.

    Cloninger said that people likely to become addicted to Facebook are those who are low in self directedness and high at novelty seeking.

    These people use social media sites like Facebook as a substitute for meeting people face to face and keep other people at a distance, he added.

    "That just doesn't give you real intimacy; it doesn't build your capacity for trust and confidential relationships that are really deep and honest," he said.

    Cloninger thinks a lot of people using Facebook in this manner are also vulnerable to being shamed and rejected.

    "The people who try to use it are the ones who are going to be the most vulnerable to being shamed and attacked and rejected and not being able to handle crisis well," he said. "You've got this paradox of the people most likely to use it are the ones who are then going to be most vulnerable to its dangers," he said.

    SOURCE: European Psychiatry

    Eur Psychiatry 2015.

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    Re: Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression

    I doubt that this is Facebook specific.

    The reality is that young men and women who are anxious, depressed, or lacking self-confidence or self-esteem tend to gravitate to internet activities of various kinds, including social media sites, multiplayer games, etc., as a way of obtaining some form of socialization which is lacking in real life.

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    Re: Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression

    I have to agree with David. Facebook hasn't been a substitute for real life relationships but rather it's helped me build them, meet people, gain confidence, and find groups and activities I can join and enjoy. I recently moved to a new city and made more connections in this city and felt more welcome than I ever would have otherwise. They've helped me find the dog parks, find people to play tennis with, buy and sell household things, build my business, and meet my neighbours in my small community. Without Facebook is be in my house, not knowing anyone, probably having another anxiety attack.
    I know everyone is different and life and culture is different in Poland. Interesting they chose that country for the study.

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    Re: Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression

    Also, when I was 18 and until my early 20s (before Facebook or even Psychlinks), the only online social group I heavily visited was pro suicide. I didn't post messages but I read thousands of posts. And it had a horrible influence on me. That's why I liked Psychlinks so much after I found it.

    So Facebook seems like a light in the darkness compared to some of the really dark fringe stuff that is still around.

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    Re: Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle View Post
    I have to agree with David. Facebook hasn't been a substitute for real life relationships but rather it's helped me build them, meet people, gain confidence, and find groups and activities I can join and enjoy. I recently moved to a new city and made more connections in this city and felt more welcome than I ever would have otherwise. They've helped me find the dog parks, find people to play tennis with, buy and sell household things, build my business, and meet my neighbours in my small community. Without Facebook is be in my house, not knowing anyone, probably having another anxiety attack.
    I know everyone is different and life and culture is different in Poland. Interesting they chose that country for the study.
    Turtle gives an excellent example of how one should aim to use sites like Facebook. I guess it is easier to transfer online to personal contacts, when you have local contacts or live in smaller town, where people get to know each other faster.
    I never learned, or I was never lucky enough to make any use of Facebook, other than wasting time looking at people's new hairstyles, or learning about the wings and beer event in Prince Edward Island. I had 800 friends and it was all so illusionary. I found, I was asking myself more and more often how many of these people I actually knew well, how many of them had my phone number, whom could I call if I needed something and so on. I guess having so many online friends and 0 offline friends made me feel even more frustrated about socializing with people. The more you get absorbed by this "Virtual reality", the harder it gets to get out of it and into the real world. Later, I found that a lot of people in my community do not maintain a Facebook page for a variety of reasons.
    What is interesting is that 2 days ago Fox news announced results of a nationwide study showing that a majority of young people (I think the cut-off age was 35) rely on Facebook for political and geopolitical news -about 65% . They emphasized that the news there were not presented by professional journalists or people, who citing from memory "have any knowledge about the world". They said this was a dangerous trend for the American society. Other sources of news and knowledge about the world were Twitter and Yahoo. The younger the consumers, the higher the use of Facebook as a main media source. One can speculate that younger age is associated with lower self-confidence or self-directedness, which leads to higher usage rates of sites like Facebook.

    ---------- Post Merged at 09:45 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 09:19 AM ----------

    I am not sure my last statement about the connection between younger age and lower self esteem was accurate. What I observe in pre-teens and teens is very high usage of online games and social websites. In my kid's schools the whole class is on some online game at a certain time of the day and this is their form of socialization. In the game they can chat with each other, "kill" and "rescue" their friends and so on. It took a lot of work on my side to limit the time spent on such activities, and any parent can tell you it is very hard to take the kids off their laptops and tablets. Also, they do not have each other's phone numbers, but they have e-mails and that is how they communicate, other than SMS, which I did not allow, because I do not think it is right for pre-teens to own an Iphone.

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    Re: Facebook Addiction Linked to Depression

    There's a great balance going on here.

    Turtle, thanks for sharing. That's really great--you actually used FB to your advantage. But I think this kind of studies speak about some considerable percentage of the population. I actually heard a similar story or news around 5 years ago, I think. It also talked about FB and some negative behavior linked to it.

    Many would rather choose to use FB--it's grand, there are lots of "nice" things to see, and for someone who's introvert they'd rather stay at home than go out.

    I'm not sure, but there's something about FB. I only see two things: (1) you get to "like" or "follow" those that reflect your lifestyle; and (2) you "like" or "follow" those you wish you had. I believe FB is great at tailoring its news feeds for its user based on their "interests". So, if for example you're an introvert and decided you don't want to interact with the outside world, you'd probably expose yourself more to my point #2 above. And when you're feeling depressed, for example, it'd only become worse.

    Turtle, you had the wits and courage to go out. I think that's a great decision you made to avoid this FB "addiction".

    David, I think there's something about FB when it comes to feeling bad about yourself. There are lots of other sites that would truly promote wellbeing, but FB has become huge to get everyone's attention and time. FB kind of tells everyone "Hey, there are no other sites as fun as this." Psychlinks for example is a great site, but this (or other similar sites) may not be heard of in some places, where people actually need it. Ask anyone whether they have an FB account; they most probably have it. Twitter? Maybe only half of the people you know. I know websites have their own demographic, but FB has become powerful that negative things such as depression are now getting linked to it. It is already an issue.

    I'm not making claims here. It's only something I observe and somewhat experience. I'm a bit of an introvert. I only use FB for PM-ing my friends. Do I think this news has got to do with it? I've thought about it 5 years ago; I think there's some truth in it.

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