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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2015 Apr;144(2):480-8. doi: 10.1037/xge0000057. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

Passive Facebook usage undermines affective well-being: Experimental and longitudinal evidence.

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Department of Psychology, University of Leuven.
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.
Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan.


Prior research indicates that Facebook usage predicts declines in subjective well-being over time. How does this come about? We examined this issue in 2 studies using experimental and field methods. In Study 1, cueing people in the laboratory to use Facebook passively (rather than actively) led to declines in affective well-being over time. Study 2 replicated these findings in the field using experience-sampling techniques. It also demonstrated how passive Facebook usage leads to declines in affective well-being: by increasing envy. Critically, the relationship between passive Facebook usage and changes in affective well-being remained significant when controlling for active Facebook use, non-Facebook online social network usage, and direct social interactions, highlighting the specificity of this result. These findings demonstrate that passive Facebook usage undermines affective well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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