More Facebook friends could lead to more stress

Could you be keeping in touch with friends at the cost of being stressed out?

People who have more Facebook friends are likely to be stressed out, according to a study by Edinburgh Napier University.

Dr Kathy Charles of the University's School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences, was the lead of the study that questioned 200 students. The research concluded that the negative effects of Facebook outweighed the benefits of keeping in touch with friends.

Dr Charles said, "Although there is great pressure to be on Facebook there is also considerable ambivalence amongst users about its benefits. Our data also suggests that there is a significant minority of users who experience considerable Facebook-related anxiety, with only very modest or tenuous rewards."

She added that those with the most contacts and who spent a lot of time on the popular social networking website were most likely to be stressed. Among the participants in the survey, 12% said Facebook made them anxious, while 32% said rejecting friend requests made them feel guilty.

Apparently, while respondents said that the best thing about Facebook was keeping in touch, many said they felt anxious about leaving the site for fear of missing important information or offending their "Facebook friends".

Other causes of tension include getting rid on unwanted contacts, the pressure to be inventive and entertaining (especially with status updates), and having to use appropriate etiquette for different types of 'friends'.

The study used focus groups, an online survey and one-to-one interviews to collect their data.

Do you feel particularly stressed out to come up with status updates that "friends" will comment on. Head over to T3's Twitter and Facebook and tell us (don't worry, you don't have any pressure when commenting on our Facebook wall!). Be sure to follow us for your regular dose of tech news.

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