A new study performed by researchers at the University of Montreal shows that teenage stress is linked to the number of Facebook friends.
The team of scientist, led by Professor Sonia Lupien, of the University Institute of Mental Health, performed the test on a group of 88 teenagers, ages between 12 and 17.
The kids had to respond to a questionnaire regarding their social media habits, like the number of friends they had on Facebook, how often they used the social media site, and how much they engaged in self-promoting and in encouraging others.
They also had had their cortisol level measured 4 times a day, in relation to their Facebook usage, over a span of three days.
After taking into account the external stress levels, the researchers concluded that subjects with more than 300 friends on the social media network had their cortisol level elevated by 8% compared to the subjects that had fewer friends.
Another interesting discovery was that the subjects that engaged more in encouraging other people via likes or shares, instead of self-promoting, had lower cortisol levels in their systems than the other ones.
This is a very interesting find, as a previous study showed that the more time a person spent on Facebook or on social media in general, the higher the levels of depression that person felt.
A study has not yet been performed on this subject, relating the levels of depression felt by people who spend a lot of time on social media and the levels of stress felt by people with a large number of friends on Facebook, but scientists are looking into it.
A different study, performed by scientists in Denmark, revealed that happiness levels in the subjects that had spent a week away from social media were a lot higher than those that continuously used the platforms.
The findings are quite interesting, since social media is supposed to bring people together, and the explosion of usage they have seen recently should theoretically be a boon for people who want to spend time with their online friends and acquaintances.
The phenomenon is being studied more and more, as social media usage is continuously on the rise, and, apparently, so is depression in its users.