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Facebook may lower your self-control: study

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 15:36

New York: Facebook and other social networks may promote your self-esteem but they can also lower your self-control both on and offline, US researchers say.

The study demonstrates that users who are focused on close friends tend to experience an increase in self-esteem while browsing their social networks, but afterwards these users display less self-control.

Greater social network use among this category of users with strong ties to their friends is also associated with individuals having higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt, according to the study.

"To our knowledge, this is the first research to show that using online social networks can affect self-control," said researcher Andrew T Stephen from the University of Pittsburgh.

"We have demonstrated that using Tuesday's most popular social network, Facebook, may have a detrimental affect on people's self-control," Stephen said in a statement.

The study includes the results of five separate studies conducted with a total of more than 1,000 US Facebook users.

In the researchers' initial study, participants completed surveys about how closely they're connected to friends on Facebook.

They were then split into two groups: one group that wrote about the experience of browsing Facebook and another group that actually browsed Facebook. Both groups then completed a self-esteem survey.

The participants with weak ties to Facebook friends did not experience an increase in self-esteem, but those with strong ties to friends had an enhanced sense of self-esteem.

Second study evaluated why Facebook users with strong ties to friends were more likely to experience an increase in self-esteem.

The researchers concluded that browsing Facebook only increased participants' self-esteem when they were focused on the information they were presenting to others.

"We find that people experience greater self-esteem when they focus on the image they are presenting to strong ties in their social networks," said Keith Wilcox from the Columbia Business School.


First Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 15:36
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