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Research Article

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults

  • Ethan Kross mail,

    ekross@umich.edu

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Philippe Verduyn,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

    X
  • Emre Demiralp,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Jiyoung Park,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • David Seungjae Lee,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Natalie Lin,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Holly Shablack,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • John Jonides,

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Oscar Ybarra

    Affiliation: Psychology Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Published: August 14, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

Reader Comments (11)

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Why not use a objective measure of facebook usage?`

Posted by ymhuang on 16 Aug 2013 at 04:05 GMT

Asking participants to indicate how often they've used facebook in between text alerts does not seem ideal especially when the research wants to investigate the relationship between facebook usage and feelings. Previous studies have showed that emotion affects the perception of time. In particular, people tend to overestimate the duration of event when they're in a negative mood. If such is the case, then the whole argument that the more you use facebook the lower your well-being becomes can be misleading. People simply estimated that they've used facebook more often when they're not feeling good. There's no causal relationship between using facebook and feeling bad.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Why not use a objective measure of facebook usage?`

nbarrowman replied to ymhuang on 17 Aug 2013 at 13:27 GMT

It also occured to me that self-rated facebook usage is not ideal, particularly since the question comes just after asking about feelings. There may have been substantial recall bias. I didn't see an indication of whether the participants were blinded to study objectives, but even if they were, it would not have been too difficult to guess them, and participants could have given the "desired" responses (which has been termed "obsequiousness bias").

I think it's an interesting study, but it doesn't establish causation. And predictably, many of the media reports about it have been sensational (e.g. The Economist: "Facebook is bad for you").

No competing interests declared.

RE: Why not use a objective measure of facebook usage?`

dplaut replied to ymhuang on 18 Aug 2013 at 23:37 GMT

I agree

No competing interests declared.