In the due course of time Facebook’s reputation has declined due to various reasons and one of the major ones being its significant role in 2016 elections and the current data breach. Several studies have also said that social media might be a big cause behind loneliness, depression and psychological distress.
A study in 2019 advised that deleting Facebook permanently might help in complete well-being. However, another study in 2018 on use of social media said that restraining oneself to use social media for 30 minutes every day can be helpful for mental well-being.
Keith Hampton from Michigan State University said that a major drawback of previous tests is that those were focused mainly on young adults and students. People are likely to experience emotional upheaval during this time and this might have highly influenced the research findings.
Hampton focused on data gathered on thousands of adults who had participated in Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 2015 to 2016. Participants in that study replied to several questions regarding their use of social media and its impact on their psychology. The unusual structure of PSID helped in analyzing relationship between family members. 5129 people had answered questions in each of the years. 3790 people out of the total number had extended members of family who also answered questions. Hampton had also considered social causation which former tests had ignored. Social causation considered social background of people which also affect mental health.
Results showed that 63% social media users had lesser chances to have mental issues like depression or anxiety etc compared to those who stayed away from social media altogether. This was simply due to the fact that they could easily stay connected with extended family and get access to health information. Another side of the study suggested that certain groups of people like women, Hispanic people, African American or black people are more vulnerable to psychological distress compared to others. Lesser educational qualification, unmarried, less family income, residential instability also increased risk to mental breakdown.