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Frequent social media use and stress levels


Researchers have dismissed the notion that frequent internet usage – in particular the use of social media – contributes to higher levels of stress.

A study by the Pew Research Center revealed that in general, regular web and social media users do not have especially high stress levels.

However, scientists did find there can be occasions when the social use of digital technology makes people more aware of stressful events in other people’s lives. This can in turn boost their own stress levels, they found.

Keith Hampton of Rutger University observed: “Everything’s all fine and dandy until something unfortunate happens in the lives of people you care about.”

He said it is a “well-known social phenomenon” that an awareness of bad things happening to someone else, such as friends and relatives, can be a stress or for people.

Earlier this month the BPS Research Digest blog published a special report on the psychology of Facebook.

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The Society publishes news stories to provide informed comment on the latest psychology research and to give a psychological angle on the day’s news. For more in-depth coverage of research, see our award-winning Research Digest blog.


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