Social media does not raise stress, it’s the cost of caring, says study

We all now what stress is and recently there has been a lot of debate about social media being a source of stress. Many have attributed social media a contributing factor of stress in their life. But, does social media really cause stress? Is internet and social media use is contributing towards the higher rate of stress on the users? Earlier it was suggested by the analysts that user who are heavily involved with these technologies are at greater risk for the negative physical and mental health effects.

According to the new survey study, conducted by Pew Research, it has been found that the social media users  who use platforms such a Facebook and Twitter feel less stress than those who don’t use social media. There are other number of well known factors on which our stress actually depends like economic instability, absence of a partner or spouse, etc. But merely the use of social media isn’t really causing stress, says study.

However, the relation between the social media and stress is indirect in nature. It is found that those who use social media frequently are more aware of stressful events in their close friends and family lives. Also they are more aware of  not so good events of their socially distant acquaintances and this may cause a higher level of stress in their own lives. It is the proven fact from the previous studies that awareness of stressful events in others lives is the major cause of people’s increasing their own stress level.

This phenomenon is described as ‘the cost of caring’.

social media


Some of the latest findings in the survey analysis are pointed out below-

  • Frequent user of social media and the internet don’t have a higher rate of stress, which is in fact opposite in case of women. Those women who use digital technologies have confirmed lower rate of stress, than to those who don’t.
  • Women tend to report more stress than men and are more aware of stressful event in the lives of their friends and family

According to Lee Rainie, Pew director of internet, science, and technology research-

“When users find out about really distressing things in their friends’ lives, it can take its toll.”

The Pew Research Center has carried out the survey of 1800 Americans using the standard scale of stress called Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The conclusion of the survey was that the social media users are more aware of stressful event that is taking place in their online friends life that is described as “cost of caring” which itself prove that stress can be contagious.

What are your thought’s on this report. Is social media really a source of stress for you?

Ankit Gupta is a writer by profession and has more than 7 years of global writing experience on technology and other areas. He follows technological developments and likes to write about Windows & IT security. He has a deep liking for wild life and has written a book on Top Tiger Parks of India.

One Comment

  1. Dan

    Reviewing as much relevant data as Pew had at its site just now, it seems that respondents experienced age-old human emotions upon hearing of alleged misfortunes of friends, neighbors, or family…not in some “scan the ‘Net for issues to be vexed by” manner; put another way, that respondents had personal spheres somewhat smaller in interest and emotional concern than global, just like families, tribes, bands, neighborhoods, and friends have had since the dawn of human socialization.

    In such a context, internet social media seems less generative of stress than it is incidental to “spreading” relevant stress, as have been personal visits, fence posts, bar stools, letters, or telephones as conduits for passing information between and limited to close associates.

    My own real “internet” stress is much more simple: try using Firefox and Noscript these days without having to play wild West ‘telegrapher’ to allow flash/scripts at every single page? Now that’s aggravating (if necessary, in today’s ‘Heartbleed’-style set of concerns). Great article, cheers!

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