No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression
Introduction: Given the breadth of correlational research linking social media use to worse well-being, we undertook an experimental study to investigate the potential causal role that social media plays in this relationship.
Method: After a week of baseline monitoring, 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania were randomly assigned to either limit Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use to 10 minutes, per platform, per day, or to use social media as usual for three weeks.
Results: The limited use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group. Both groups showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out over baseline, suggesting a benefit of increased self-monitoring.
Discussion: Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.
- 1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory–II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation. Google Scholar (
- 1983). Positive events and social supports as buffers of life change stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 13, 99–125. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1983.tb02325.x Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 1985). Measuring the functional components of social support. Social Support: Theory, Research and Applications, 24, 73–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-5115-0_5 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2018). Social media use may explain little of the recent rise in depressive symptoms among adolescent girls. Clinical Psychological Science, 6, 295. Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2016). Depression among users of Social Networking Sites (SNSs): The role of SNS addiction and increased usage. Journal of Addiction and Preventative Medicine, 1, 1–6. http://doi.org/10.19104/japm.2016.107 Google Scholar (
- 2011). The relationship between Facebook and the well-being of undergraduate college students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14, 183–189. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0061 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLOS One, 8. e69841. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069841 Google Scholar (
- 2015). Instagram #Instasad?: Exploring associations among Instagram use, depressive symptoms, negative social comparison, and strangers followed. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18, 247–252. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2014.0560 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1841–1848. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2013). Is Facebook creating “iDisorders”? The link between clinical symptoms of psychiatric disorders and technology use, attitudes and anxiety. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1243–1254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.11.012 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books. Google Scholar (
- 1980). The revised UCLA Loneliness Scale: Concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 472–480. https://doi.org/10.1037/002235188.8.131.522 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2069 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2018). Social media use in 2018. Pew Research Center. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/ Google Scholar (
- 2014). Does Facebook make you lonely?: A meta-analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 446–452. Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 1970). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. Google Scholar (
- 2014). Seeing everyone else's highlight reels: How Facebook usage is linked to depressive symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33, 701–731. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2014.33.8.701 Link, Google Scholar (
- 2015). Facebook use, envy, and depression among college students: Is Facebooking depressing? Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 139–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.053 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2013). NetGirls: The Internet, Facebook, and body image concern in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 630–633. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.22141 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2016). The Facebook experiment: Quitting Facebook leads to higher levels of well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19, 661–666. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2016.0259 Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2017). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6, 3–17. Crossref, Google Scholar (
- 2015). Passive Facebook usage undermines affective well-being: Experimental and longitudinal evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 480–488. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000057 Crossref, Google Scholar (