A new Australia study shows that just five days off of Facebook is enough to lower the stress hormone cortisol. Recent statistics from Statista show that Facebook has 2 billion active monthly users making it the most popular social network. Facebook's reputation, however, has suffered since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which took the company's stock down to lows not seen since 2015.
Researchers at the University of Queensland and Australian Catholic University have recently published a study to gain some insight into how Facebook affects our mental well-being. The study was published in the Journal of Social Psychology and was called, "The Burden of Online Friends."
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Eric Vanman and Rosemary Baker attempt to explore the effects quitting the social media platform had on the mind with the help of Stephanie Tobin. The study examined 138 active Facebook members who were then separated into two groups which were referred to as "Facebook Normal" and "No Facebook". Half of the participants quit Facebook for five days, while half continued using the platform as normal.
After the study, the researchers measured salivary cortisol, perceived stress, and well-being of the participants as well as asked them questions about mood, loneliness and life satisfaction.
The researchers concluded, "Relative to those in the Facebook Normal condition, those in the No Facebook condition experienced lower levels of cortisol and life satisfaction. Our results suggest that the typical Facebook user may occasionally find the large amount of social information available taxing, and Facebook vacations could ameliorate this stress — at least in the short-term."
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Naturally, those who were in the "No Facebook" group spent more time with friends face-to-face. However, one surprising finding was that even though quitting the social media website led to lower stress levels and cortisol, users from the "No Facebook" group were happy to return to the platform.
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