UH study links Facebook use to depressive symptoms

FILE - A Jan. 12, 2012 file photo, shows the Facebook "like" icon displayed outside of Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The social media site, Facebook, can be an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends. However, some users may find themselves spending quite a bit of time viewing Facebook and may inevitably begin comparing what's happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends.

According to University of Houston (UH) researcher Mai-Ly Steers, this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on Facebook may be linked to depressive symptoms. Steers' research on the topic is presented in the article, "Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms" published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

"Although social comparison processes have been examined at length in traditional contexts, the literature is only beginning to explore social comparisons in online social networking settings," said Steers, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at UH.

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