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Study: A week without Facebook leads to a happier, less angry, less lonely life

marc andreessen just dumped a whole lot of facebook stock should anyone be worried happiness
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It’s not difficult to find a study or an advocate supporting the notion that Facebook ruins lives – and here’s another one. The Happiness Research Institute released findings from a study showing how a group of participants who quit Facebook for a week were happier, less worried, and less lonely than a group who stayed on the social network.

The Denmark-based think tank recently published the results of its study in the report “The Facebook Experiment: Does Social Media Affect the Quality of Our Lives?” The experiment had 1,095 participants, half of whom were given the task of getting off Facebook for a week (the treatment group).

“After one week without Facebook, the treatment group reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction,” according to the institute. Before the study, the control group rated their life satisfaction 7.67 on a scale of 1-10; after the study, the group rated their satisfaction 7.75. For the treatment group, life satisfaction was 7.56 before the study and 8.12 after the study.

The Happiness Research Institute also gauged both groups’ moods on the last day of the study. Among the findings: the treatment group was happier than the control group (88 percent vs. 81 percent), less worried (41 percent vs. 54 percent), less sad (22 percent vs. 34 percent), less angry (12 percent vs. 20 percent), more enthusiastic (61 percent vs. 49 percent), less depressed (22 percent vs. 33 percent), less lonely (16 percent vs. 25 percent), and more decisive (64 percent vs. 56 percent). The treatment group also said they enjoyed life more than the control group (84 percent vs. 75 percent).

The treatment group also experienced a larger boost in their social activity and their satisfaction with their social life after the study. It also reported less difficulty concentrating and a feeling that they wasted their time less than before.

“People on Facebook are 39 percent more likely to feel less happy than their friends,” according to the report.

This is, of course, far from the first study announcing the negative effects Facebook usage has on our lives. In 2012, a study conducted by sociologists at Utah Valley University found a correlation between a Facebook user’s disposition about their life and the amount of time they spend on the social network. A study last year from Charles Sturt University in Australia found that women who consider themselves lonely or depressed are more willing to self-disclose information on Facebook.

Jason Hahn
Jason Hahn is a part-time freelance writer based in New Jersey. He earned his master's degree in journalism at Northwestern…
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