Sunday, February 3, 2013

Facebook may help your friends get a better "picture"

Do you have a lot of friends?  Do you have a high credit card debt?  How’s your self-esteem? How about your self-control?  How’s your appetite? Your Facebook page may be exposing more than you think.
Two studies were announced this week by researchers at the Universities of Wisconsin and Missouri with findings to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Study One: It is thought that if you are “strongly connected” to Facebook, you may be using Facebook to boost your self-confidence.  This is especially true if you use Facebook to tell others about yourself. This is not so true for people who use Facebook to simply “follow” others.
Good news right?  Maybe not the researchers say.  People “strongly tied” to Facebook were found to have less self-control, higher credit card debt, and higher body mass indexes.
Now for Study Two:  Facebook can remove some of the accuracy problems psychiatrists have with people when they are self-reporting their symptoms.  For instance, people with social anhedonia (I’ll let you research that term) have fewer friends on Facebook, communicate with friends  less often and share fewer photos    Psychiatrists are pleased with this study and think Facebook (with the patient’s consent of course) might help them get a better picture.
That’s what my local radio station boldly announced this week:  “Facebook may reveal to others whether you are mentally ill!”
How about you?  Apart from the fact that you might have high credit card debt or a bit of extra belly fat….do you really want your friends to check your Facebook page and wonder if you are “mentally ill?”
Does Facebook put your view of mental illness into focus?

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