Study links Facebook use to feelings of depression

Tempted to check out your Facebook newsfeed while killing time at work?

If you want to avoid a buzzkill, you may want to think twice. A new study put together by University of Houston researcher Mai-Ly Steers links time spent on Facebook with feelings of depression.

Perhaps more so than other social networks, Facebook serves as a "highlight reel" of your friends' lives. Steers found that when users compare their own lives with what they see their friends post, they often conclude they don't stack up.

"It doesn't mean Facebook causes depression, but that depressed feelings and lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand," Steers, a doctoral candidate, says in a press release. "You can't really control the impulse to compare because you never know what your friends are going to post. In addition, most of our Facebook friends tend to post about the good things that occur in their lives, while leaving out the bad."

"If we're comparing ourselves to our friends' ‘highlight reels,' this may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives," she adds.

The upshot is that people who are depressed or at risk or becoming depressed might be best off avoiding their newsfeeds altogether.

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