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  • Voltaire Staff

Social media addiction sending people into stress, form negative view of one's life: Study

A recent study has found materialism to be linked with social media addiction and stress symptoms, leading to negative assessment of one's life.

The study, conducted by researchers at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, involved 1,230 people who were asked several questions on their materialist and social comparison orientation, passive social media use, and addiction to social media, stress symptoms, and satisfaction with life.

The participants had to use at least one social media platform weekly to participate. On average, they spent a little over two hours each day on social media.

The research team used six different questionnaires to gauge the extent of participants’ materialistic quotient and how often they compared themselves to others. If they used social media actively or just looked at it, if they were addicted to social media, how stressed they felt, and how happy they were with their lives were some other factors they looked into.

Dr Phillip Ozimek from the Faculty of Psychology at Ruhr University Bochum said, "The data showed that a stronger materialistic approach goes hand in hand with a tendency to compare oneself with others."

He explained materialism as the continuous pursuit and display of possessions, both tangible and intangible.

Such tendencies have seen a surge in the digital age, with the rise in online platforms for rapid accumulation and comparison. People use social media like Instagram and Twitter to quickly get and compare things. Although research shows that materialistic people use social media to compare and collect digital stuff, how it affects life satisfaction is nuanced.

The study noted that when our basic needs aren't met, a feeling of deprivation can occur as compared to others. This feeling of relative deprivation affects how satisfied we are.

It said that people who are really into materialistic values tend to engage in risky behaviours related to health and buying things. They also tend to think negatively about themselves.

Some experts think that when people don't feel satisfied in certain areas of their life, they might try to make up for it by focusing on material things, for example, buying things to send a certain image of themselves.

The study also highlighted a positive association between social comparison orientation and social media use, as well as, perceived stress symptoms, indicating a poor mental health.

Ozimek said, "Overall, the study provides further evidence that the use of social media is associated with risks, especially for people with a highly materialistic mindset."



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