A new study about human psychology suggests that people who feel jealous of their friends on Facebook and other social networking websites, tend to feel depressed. A new study conducted by researcher Mai-Ly Steers, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Houston, has been published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. The study of more than 100 people measured Facebook usage, the trend of the users comparing themselves with one another, along with symptoms of depression in the candidates. The claim was that spending a great deal of time on the social network relating their lives to their friends lives is connected to mood disorders such as low self-esteem, depression, and bitter jealousy.
The study also suggests that people who have emotional difficulties are the most vulnerable. The conclusion found that liking a friend’s photos and status updates on Facebook could more than likely make people dislike themselves. Steers reported that a previous research along with her study points out that the reaction to socially compare other people’s lives to one’s own is associated to long-term harmful emotions.
Steers, who is also the author of the study, states that her does not imply that if a person uses Facebook it will cause depression. However, she does say that the evidence of her study reveals that when people compare their friends on Facebook to themselves it can reduce the user’s happiness. Thus, people who feel jealous and are envious of their Facebook friends tend to feel depressed as per the new study. The result of the study also says that the depressive feeling in those who were logged on for a longer duration was mediated in both sexes by social comparison in any direction. It means that people who were making a downward, neutral, or upward social comparison were more likely to experience the envious thoughts developing in symptoms of depression.
It has been suggested that if people feel depressed after spending most of their time on Facebook, they should stop comparing themselves with their peers and start to use Facebook only to share information and memories with current and new friends. Individuals who are already distressed and are struggling with their combined emotions of feeling isolated and lonely, merely feel worse while looking at the distorted display of their friends lives. It becomes more difficult to restrict the urge to equate and compare as people do not know what their friends are about to post.
A dynamic feature of Facebook is that it shares information with people about their friends that they may not ordinarily be privy to. This in turn leads to even further opportunities where a person can socially compare themselves. Along with that, people have friends in their list who tend to boast while sharing posts only about the positive aspects of their lives, while deflecting the bad aspects. The new study about human psychology points out that people who feel jealous about the fabulous and happening lives of their friends on Facebook and other social networking websites, tend to feel low, hurt, and depressed.
By Ankur Sinha