Dr. Kathy Charles and her team of Psychologists at Edinburgh Napier University studied 200 students and their Facebook habits and found that an unexpected number of users experienced some sort of negative effects from the social network.
Charles stated that, "Although there is great pressure to be on Facebook, there is also considerable ambivalence amongst users about its benefits."
Perhaps the most interesting piece of evidence found by the research is that a significant minority of users actually experience anxiety linked to Facebook. Users who had the most friends and invested the most time into the site were the ones likely to be stressed out from the website.
“An overwhelming majority of respondents reported that the best thing about Facebook was ‘keeping in touch’, often without any further explanation,” Charles explained. “But many also told us they were anxious about withdrawing from the site for fear of missing important social information or offending contacts.
In addition to the stress of missing important information, students reported stress coming from deleting unwanted contacts, pressure to be humorous and entertaining, and worrying about the proper type of etiquette towards different friends.
The study found that an astonishing 12% of Facebook users reported anxiety coming from the website. The majority of the students in this percentile reported having 30% more Facebook friends than the remaining 88%.
63% of respondents reported that they delayed replying to friend requests and 32% stated that rejecting friend requests made them feel guilty and uncomfortable.
In addition, 10% of the students reported that they disliked receiving friend requests.
Although the sample size is relatively small considering the giant population of Facebook users, the study definitely gives a different perspective as to the pros and cons of the frequent use of the website.
Many would argue that Myspace, Facebook and other social media websites have dislodged us from society and reality despite their purpose being the exact opposite. For those of you who do use Facebook, do you experience any kind of anxiety from the site?