Teens who have high levels of anxiety and drink alcohol are more emotionally connected to Facebook,using it as a platform to connect with others,a new US study has found.
Russell Clayton,a doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism,found that anxiety and alcohol use significantly predict emotional connectedness to Facebook.
Clayton’s research,conducted under the supervision of Randall Osborne,Brian Miller,and Crystal Oberle of Texas State University,surveyed more than 225 college freshmen students concerning their perceived levels of loneliness,anxiousness,alcohol use,and marijuana use in the prediction of emotional connectedness to Facebook.
They found that students who reported higher levels of anxiousness and alcohol use appeared to be more emotionally connected with the social networking site.
Clayton and his colleagues also found that students who reported higher levels of loneliness and anxiousness use Facebook as a platform to connect with others.
“People who perceive themselves to be anxious are more likely to want to meet and connect with people online,as opposed to a more social,public setting,” Clayton said.
“Also,when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol,they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviours in order to fit in socially,” he said in a statement.
Clayton said that because alcohol use is generally viewed as normative,or socially acceptable,among college students,increased alcohol use may cause an increase in emotional connectedness to Facebook.
The researchers also found that marijuana use predicted the opposite: a lack of emotional connectedness with Facebook.
“Marijuana use is less normative,meaning fewer people post on Facebook about using it. In turn,people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook,” said Clayton.
Researchers also found that students who reported high levels of perceived loneliness were not emotionally connected to Facebook,but use Facebook as a tool to connect with others.
The study was published in the Journal of Computers in Human Behaviour.