Social media can be a downer as former Instagram model Essena O’Neill surely knows.
Now researchers from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen are revealing new insight into a long-beloved social networking site. A study involving 1,095 Facebook users found that 88% of people who quit the site completely for one week were “happy” compared to 81% of people who were still using the site.
Reviewing the frequency of the participants’ Facebook usage, the researchers discovered that 94% of subjects visited Facebook as part of their daily routine. The experimenters split the test pool into two groups — the first was allowed to use the networking site as usual and the second was forced to quit entirely.
The results were mostly positive for the group without Facebook. Those people experienced less anger and were more enthusiastic about life. Their social life satisfaction and participation in social activities also increased.
On the other hand, the Facebook-using group was 55% more likely to feel stressed. Researchers hypothesized that users’ perceptions of how happy their Facebook friends are on the site had a negative effect on their own life satisfaction.
Still, the findings indicate a mere correlation and not causation. The answers were self-reported and researchers are looking to gather results from a long-term study.