Friday, April 21, 2017

Envy, Depression, and Facebook

Question: Do media have "direct effects"?

According to the textbook, media effects are changes in cognition, attitudes, emotions, or behavior that result from exposure to the media. Facebook is a social media site that has potentially negative effects on its users’ emotional states. Research has shown that use of Facebook can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. This is especially true if these are already pre-existing issues for the user, if the user experiences envy of others on the site, and/or they are using Facebook heavily. College students are at particular risk for such depression, due to the fact that they “may still be struggling to establish their identities apart from their families, and, consequently, may be more susceptible to peer influences” (Steers, 2014). 

It is not just scholars who are noticing these effects on Facebook users. In recent times, there has been an increase in helpful articles such as “What To Do If Facebook Makes You Feel Depressed” and in users posting on forums about their struggles with depression and Facebook envy. There are, of course, also many positive effects of connecting with others on social media. However, it is important to be aware of how social media use can be negatively affecting your emotional state and others’.

Some more information can be found at the following links:

Facebook World Stats and Penetration in the World - Facebook Statistics 2016. (2017, March 6). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from
Labrague, L. J. (2014). Facebook use and adolescents' emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress. Health Science Journal8(1), 80-89.
Steers, M. N., Wickham, R. E., & Acitelli, L. K. (2014). Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms. Journal Of Social & Clinical Psychology33(8), 701-731.
Social media makes me feel even worse about myself. (2016, June 27). [Online Forum]. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from
Tandoc, J. C., Ferrucci, P., & Duffy, M. (2015). Facebook use, envy, and depression among college students: Is facebooking depressing?. Computers In Human Behavior43139-146.

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