More Facebook friends means more stress, says report

A large number of friends on Facebook may appear impressive but, according to a new report, the more social circles a person is linked to online the more likely social media will be a source of stress.

A report from the University of Edinburgh Business School has found that the more groups of people in someone's , the greater potential to cause . In particular, adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.

Stress arises when a user presents a version of themself on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online 'friends', such as posts displaying behaviour such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.

As older people join the site, this has become an increasing problem as their expectations may be very different from those of younger users.

Some 55 per cent of follow their children on Facebook. Likewise, more than half of employers claim not to have hired someone based on their Facebook page.

Researchers found that on average people are Facebook friends with seven different social circles. The most common group was friends known offline (97 per cent added them as friends online), followed by extended family (81 per cent), (80 per cent), friends of friends (69 per cent), and colleagues (65 per cent).

The report also discovered that more people are Facebook friends with their former partners than with their current relationship partner. Only 56 per cent of users were friends with their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse online, compared with 64 per cent of exes.

The report surveyed more than 300 people on Facebook, mostly students, with an average age of 21.

It also discovered that only one third use the listing privacy setting on their Facebook profile, which can be used to control the information seen by different types of friends.

Ben Marder, author of the report and early career fellow in marketing at the Business School, said: "Facebook used to be like a great party for all your where you can dance, drink and flirt. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook adds 'app' passwords to site security

Oct 27, 2011

Facebook is ramping up security by giving people the option of setting passwords for games or other third-party applications added to pages at the leading online social network.

AOL integrates Facebook chat with AIM

Feb 10, 2010

(AP) -- As part of an ongoing effort to improve its user experience, Internet company AOL Inc. is letting users of its AIM instant-messaging service chat with friends on Facebook.

Facebook to keep profiles of the dead

Oct 27, 2009

(AP) -- Death doesn't erase the online footprints that people leave in life and Facebook won't either, though it will make some changes.

Recommended for you

Depression increasing across the country

11 hours ago

A study by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge shows Americans are more depressed now than they have been in decades.

How to predict who will suffer the most from stress

13 hours ago

More than 23 per cent of Canadians report being stressed or very stressed on most days. While chronic stress increases the risk of poor mental and physical health, not everyone is affected the same way. Some cope well, but ...

User comments