Facebook Support Can Foster Feelings of Well-Being
In a new study, Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook researchers determined passive readings or posts or one-click feedback such as “likes” did not influence well-being. However, frequent and substantive comments from friends did improve emotional perceptions.
Investigators determined 60 comments from close friends in a month were associated with increases in users’ psychological well-being as large as those associated with major life events.
The findings by Burke and Robert Kraut, a professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, run counter to many previous studies based on user surveys. These studies have often shown that time spent on social media is associated with a greater likelihood of loneliness and depression.
The study, published by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, was based on 1,910 Facebook users from 91 countries who were recruited with Facebook ads. Each agreed to take a monthly survey for three months and to have their responses joined with de-identified counts of their Facebook behavior from the month before each survey.
By considering mood and behavior over time, Burke and Kraut’s study revealed that Facebook interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness, and depression.