Jay P. Campisi, study author from Regis University, believes using social media is not the answer to simply feel better, whether it’s emotionally, mentally, or physically.
“If you’re looking to feel less lonely or feel happier or have better health, probably staring at a phone or computer screen is not the way to go,” Campisi told PsyPost.
Campisi and his colleagues analyzed the survey responses of 89 healthy college students who were asked questions about their Facebook use and general health. The researchers then tracked the respondents for 10 weeks to monitor the occurrence of upper respiratory infections. Overall, Facebook-induced anxiety and stress triggered a higher number of infections; those with more Facebook friends reported higher anxiety and stress levels and more infections.
Physical activity levels, sleep and social support did not influence these associations. The findings do suggest there could be a link between specific Facebook use, psychological anxiety, and health. However, the researchers caution there are limitations: the study only examined college-aged Facebook users, and cannot determine if the results would apply to other groups of people.
“For example, do grandparents who are using Facebook to view pictures of their grandchildren feel the same anxiety/stress that college students might have?” said Campisi.