Facebook, depression and social comparison

Image courtesy University of Houston
Image courtesy University of Houston

A little mental health news to start your day…

I’ll admit it – I’m a Facebook-aholic. I check it all day long if I’m on the computer, but hardly ever from my phone though (I can stop anytime I want. Really!). I love seeing posts from friends and relations detailing their daily adventures, vacations and successes. I love seeing all the positives in their lives and I equally mourn with them for the sad and terrible bits. I judge no one and envy is never part of it for me. I simply choose to live vicariously through others, and they lovingly feed my addiction for seeing people happy. However, for some with depression, the popular social network might be filled with mental health land mines.

According to researchers from the University of Houston (UH), “Some users may find themselves spending quite a bit of time viewing Facebook and may inevitably begin comparing what’s happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends.”

UH’s Mai-Ly Steers says that “this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on Facebook may be linked to depressive symptoms.”

Steers goes on to say. “One danger is that Facebook often gives us information about our friends that we are not normally privy to, which gives us even more opportunities to socially compare. You can’t really control the impulse to compare because you never know what your friends are going to post. In addition, most of our Facebook friends tend to post about the good things that occur in their lives, while leaving out the bad. If we’re comparing ourselves to our friends’ ‘highlight reels,’ this may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives.”

To get more detailed information about this study, please check the UH website.

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2 thoughts on “Facebook, depression and social comparison

  1. I work in mental health with a specialization in maternal, infant and child mental health. Facebook is a real trigger for attitudinal and self-esteem issues. I wish more teen girls (especially) realized that Facebook for the most part only highlights the good parts on people’s lives…and that everyone has their own set of problems and struggles…

    Liked by 2 people

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