New Study: Loneliness, Anxiousness, And Substance Use As Predictors Of FACEBOOK Use

Do you use Facebook?

If you answered “no” to this question, then mathematically you are in the majority of the world population. In October 2011 the world population reached seven (7) billion; a recent count of the world population that uses Facebook is about one (1) billion. However, many experts will offer that hundreds of millions of people use Facebook daily. Anyway you look at it many people like Facebook and use it on a regular basis.

For the record, Cottonwood Tucson has a Facebook page and over the past couple of years we have often published blog posts that discuss Facebook.

New study examines alcohol use and anxiety as emotional connectedness to Facebook

Russell Clayton who is a first year doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism looked at how anxiety as well as alcohol use could possibly predict emotion connectedness with the social network Facebook.

Study’s parameters…

The results of Mr. Clayton’s study were published this week online in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior. The study is titled: Loneliness, anxiousness, and substance use as predictors of Facebook use.  The following are the parameters of the study:

  • 229 respondents from a United States mid-sized public university
  • All respondents lived in a university dormitory
  • All respondents had an active Facebook account
  • The study was supervised by Randall Osborne, Brian Miller and Crystal Oberle of Texas State University
  • The study focused on the students’ respective levels of loneliness, anxiousness, alcohol use and marijuana use
  • On average each respondent had 301-400 Facebook friends 
  • Each respondent used on average one hour per day on Facebook 

Study’s results…

According to ScienceDaily Mr. Clayton’s research showed:

  • Students who reported higher levels of anxiousness and alcohol use appeared to be more emotionally connected with the social networking site.
  • Students who reported higher levels of loneliness and anxiousness use Facebook as a platform to connect with others.
  • Students who reported high levels of perceived loneliness were not emotionally connected to Facebook, but use Facebook as a tool to connect with others.

 Mr. Clayton offered the following observation:

“People who perceive themselves to be anxious are more likely to want to meet and connect with people online, as opposed to a more social, public setting. Also, when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.”

Going forward…

Certainly this study will help to continue the conversation about how people, particularly young adults, become emotionally attached to Facebook. There is much more to learn about how we all make use of social media platforms. There is even a phenomenon called Facebook Envy. You might have noticed that many Facebook users only share their “good news” on Facebook and many others view this good news like this: “the act of viewing all of your friends’ fabulous vacations, lovely children, attractive friends and great social lives. The research showed it can leave people feeling — you guessed it — lonely, frustrated and angry.”

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