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Discontinuing Facebook Decreases Stress Levels in a Few Days

04 April 2018

Sixty participants were randomly assigned to a condition in which they were instructed to completely give up Facebook for five days "No Facebook", while the remaining 78 participants continued to use Facebook as "normal".

Facebook users looking for an excuse to delete their account-beyond the recent and sizable data breach the company was involved in-may just have gotten one.

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia investigated how taking a short break from the social media platform affects a person's stress levels and overall well-being, according to a press release on the university website.

For example, quitting Facebook for only a few days may reduce stress, indeed, but the more you feel like you're missing something, the more cortisol your body secretes, according to Dr. Vanman.

In the study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, titled "The Burden of Online Friends", authors Dr Eric Vanman, Rosemary Baker from the University of Queensland (UQ) and Dr Stephanie Tobin from the Australian Catholic University attempted to answer the question of the effects of giving up Facebook on mental health, stress and well-being.

Dr Vanman and his colleagues surveyed the participants regarding their life satisfaction, stress, mood, and loneliness before and after the experiment. All participants provided saliva samples at the start and end of the study in order for the researchers to measure any changes in their cortisol levels.

The researchers concluded the following. The first group's members were asked to quit Facebook for one week, while the members of the other group were asked to maintain their regular Facebook activity.

"Abstaining from Facebook was shown to reduce a person's level of the stress hormone cortisol, but people's own ratings of their stress did not change - perhaps because they weren't aware their stress had gone down", he said. The other group experienced no similar changes.

The study revealed that staying away from Facebook even for a brief period of time has its benefits.

"We would like to run a longer-term study as a follow-up".

Later in a few days, the researchers observed a fall in the cortisol levels in the people who discontinued with Facebook.

"Our results suggest that the typical Facebook user may occasionally find the large amount of social information available taxing, and Facebook vacations could ameliorate this stress", the authors note, before adding: "at least in the short-term".

The scholars' preliminary findings suggest that there is indeed a link between stress and social media.

This story originally appeared on The Inquisitr.

Discontinuing Facebook Decreases Stress Levels in a Few Days