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Your Facebook usage is inversely proportional to your happiness, study finds

The use of Facebook is inversely proportional to your happiness and use of the social media platform has negative impact on your well-being, a study has found.

The study was carried out over a span of two years. While previous studies found links between happiness and social media use, they have had limited or unrepresentative samples, or else focused on a broader range of social media, The Independent reported.

Researchers Holly B Shakya of the University of California and Nicholas A Christakis of Yale University headed the study. According to the data provided by Facebook in 2016, an average user spends 50 minutes on the site per day. The research studied 5,208 subjects in three phases (2013, 2014, and 2015). This sample was chosen as a representative sample of the US population. The activities of each subject were monitored for a period of two years.




The study concluded that Facebook activity has the potential of having a negative impact on well-being. The study also found that actions on social media like clicking a link, updating one’s status, or clicking ‘like’, were linked to a decrease of five to eight per cent in self-reported mental health.

Shakya and Christakis explained in The Harvard Business Review that to calculate “well-being” they measured self-reported mental health, self-reported physical health. They analysed the data about social media activities such as likes, numbers of friends, and hours spent on the site, directly from participant’s accounts.

“We found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction,” the authors wrote.



The study warns that the social media interaction creates an illusion of being engaged in a human interaction, while they are receiving none of the benefits of face to face interaction.

They also concluded that the negatives of online interactions were comparable to or greater than the benefits of offline interactions, suggesting a ‘tradeoff’ between the two worlds.