The research by the University of Copenhagen showed the effects of quitting for a week were also strong among heavy users and those who envied their Facebook friends, suggesting that people who pore irritably over the posts of others may benefit the most.
The report’s author, Morten Tromholt, from the university’s sociology department, said the findings suggested that changes in behaviour – for example, heavy users reducing their time spent on Facebook, or lurkers actively engaging – could yield positive results.
Most people use Facebook on a daily basis; few are aware of the consequences. Based on a 1-week experiment with 1,095 participants in late 2015 in Denmark, this study provides causal evidence that Facebook use affects our well-being negatively. By comparing the treatment group (participants who took a break from Facebook) with the control group (participants who kept using Facebook), it was demonstrated that taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: our life satisfaction increases and our emotions become more positive. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.
To cite the study:
Tromholt Morten. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. November 2016, 19(11): 661-666. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0259.