A recent study performed by doctoral student Russell Clayton of Missouri School of Journalism revealed that Facebook could be related to anxiety and alcohol problems. According to Clayton, people who suffer from these disorders are more inclined to resort to social networks, CNET News informs.
225 college freshmen were subjected to various interviews and tests during Clayton’s research. He started his inquiry because he wanted to find out whether emotions like anxiety and loneliness or self-destructive behaviors like alcohol and marijuana could somehow determine people to turn to Facebook. His findings revealed that respondents who reported higher levels of anxiety and alcohol use were the most emotionally linked to the social networking website. The group of respondents registering higher levels of loneliness, on the other hand, were not emotionally attached to the website.
Clayton failed to provide an explanation for the fact that anxious people tend to be emotionally attached to Facebook. However, he observed that people suffering from anxiety are generally more influenced by their friends’ statuses using alcohol. The majority of them use alcohol as a means to adapt to society rules.
Marijuana use, on the other hand, was at the opposite pole of alcohol use, according to Clayton’s study. It appears that people who regularly consume marijuana are not influenced by Facebook posts, given that few people write about marijuana consumption on their profiles. These respondents, however, were just as emotionally attached to virtual social settings as the ones consuming alcohol.
Clayton’s study comes to contradict everything that was said before. Researchers have always blamed Facebook for people’s anxiety, whereas the author of the current study claims the social network has therapeutic powers. Further studies must be preformed in order to determine which was first: anxiety or networking. While Clayton’s study needs to be acknowledged by additional researches, it is, nevertheless, an interesting point of view on Facebook use.