Nav: Home

How stress leads to Facebook addiction

May 28, 2019

Friends on social media such as Facebook can be a great source of comfort during periods of stress. However, if they don't receive any support offline, stressed users are at risk of developing a pathological dependence on the social networking site - the so-called Facebook addiction. This is the result of a study conducted by a team of the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), headed by Dr. Julia Brailovskaia. The group has published its findings in the journal "Psychiatric Research" on 13 May 2019.

Students under stress

For their study, the researchers evaluated the results from an online survey that had been taken by 309 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 56. "We have specifically invited students to participate in the survey, as they often experience a high level of stress for a number of reasons," explains Julia Brailovskaia. Students are often put under pressure to succeed. Moreover, many leave their family home and the social network there; they have to run a household for the first time, are busy building new relationships.

The researchers' questions helped deduce the stress level, as well as how much social support the participants received offline and online. Moreover, the users were asked how much time they spend on Facebook daily and how they feel if they can't be online.

The higher the stress level, the deeper the engagement with Facebook

"Our findings have shown that there is a positive relationship between the severity of daily stress, the intensity of Facebook engagement, and the tendency to develop a pathological addiction to the social networking site," concludes Julia Brailovskaia. At the same time, this effect is reduced if users receive support by family and friends in real life. Individuals who don't experience much support offline are most at risk of developing a Facebook addition.

A vicious circle

Addiction symptoms include, for example: users spend more and more time on Facebook, are preoccupied with Facebook all the time and feel uneasy when they can't engage with the network online. The pathological behaviour, in turn, affects their life offline and may trap them in a vicious circle. "This aspect has to be taken into consideration when treating a person with a pathological addition - or suspected pathological addition - to Facebook," says the psychologist.
-end-
Original publication

Julia Brailovskaia, Elke Rohmann, Hans-Werner Bierhoff, Holger Schillack, Jürgen Margraf: The relationship between daily stress, social support and Facebook addiction disorder, in: Psychiatry Research 2019, DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.05.014

Press contact

Dr. Julia Brailovskaia
Mental Health Research and Treatment Center
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Germany
Phone: +49 234 32 21506
Email: julia.brailovskaia@rub.de

Ruhr-University Bochum

Related Stress Articles:

Early life stress is associated with youth-onset depression for some types of stress but not others
Examining the association between eight different types of early life stress (ELS) and youth-onset depression, a study in JAACAP, published by Elsevier, reports that individuals exposed to ELS were more likely to develop a major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence than individuals who had not been exposed to ELS.
Red light for stress
Researchers from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo have created a biphasic luminescent material that changes color when exposed to mechanical stress.
How do our cells respond to stress?
Molecular biologists reverse-engineer a complex cellular structure that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS
How stress remodels the brain
Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.
Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.
How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.
Stress in the powerhouse of the cell
University of Freiburg researchers discover a new principle -- how cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects.
Measuring stress around cells
Tissues and organs in the human body are shaped through forces generated by cells, that push and pull, to ''sculpt'' biological structures.
Cellular stress at the movies
For the first time, biological imaging experts have used a custom fluorescence microscope and a novel antibody tagging tool to watch living cells undergoing stress.
Maternal stress at conception linked to children's stress response at age 11
A new study published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease finds that mothers' stress levels at the moment they conceive their children are linked to the way children respond to life challenges at age 11.
More Stress News and Stress Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: IRL Online
Original broadcast date: March 20, 2020. Our online lives are now entirely interwoven with our real lives. But the laws that govern real life don't apply online. This hour, TED speakers explore rules to navigate this vast virtual space.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Falling
There are so many ways to fall–in love, asleep, even flat on your face. This hour, Radiolab dives into stories of great falls.  We jump into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, upend some myths about falling cats, and plunge into our favorite songs about falling. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.