(Mirror Daily, United States) – Having more than 300 Facebook friends can stress teens according to a recent study led by Professor Sonia Lupien. A combined effort of researchers at both the Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal and the University of Montreal has shown that having more than 300 friends of Facebook increases the stress levels that teenagers experience, but that help and support from teens’ friends on the social platform in the form of likes and comments can actually help them feel better.
More than 88 teenagers with ages between 12 and 17 were surveyed for the study by using a complex questionnaire focused on their daily Facebook activity. The information researchers asked for was the number of friends that the teenagers had on the website, how frequently they used Facebook, how much they engaged in self-promotion and how to what extent do they encourage friends on the social media network.
The researchers then analyzed the cortisol levels that the teenagers had throughout the day. Their cortisol levels were tested for three days in a row, four times a day. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland as one of the body’s measures of response to stress and low blood sugar levels.
The team explained that cortisol levels were not completely dependent of the social media usage that the teenagers had. Researchers had to factor in external influences and assessed that the effect which the social media site has remotely on the levels of cortisol is roughly 8 percent. But they did also notice that teenagers with more than 300 friends on the website showed higher levels of the hormone, which indicated that they were experiencing higher stress levels.
Researchers concluded that the more friends teenagers had on the social media website, the higher the levels of stress that they were subjected to were. But Facebook is not all bad news and stress for teenagers, as the team has also found that there is a decrease in cortisol levels for teenagers that experience a positive and encouraging behavior from their friends when using the social media site, when their friends offer their support in the form of likes or encouraging comments.
The effects of extended Facebook usage have been studied in previous studies as well and although Lupien’s research did not investigate the teenager’s risk of developing depression, other recent studies have shown that some negative effects may exist from using the social media page. Recently a different study showed that taking a week-long break from using the website increased happiness levels for participants.
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