Social commentators and researchers alike have long suggested that there could be a link between social media and increased stress. But now, a new study has revealed that there is no direct link between the two and that social media can even serve to reduce stress in women.
According to the study by the Pew Research Center, Social Media and the Cost of Caring, “a woman who uses Twitter several times per day, sends or receives 25 emails per day, and shares two digital pictures through her mobile phone per day, scores 21 percent lower on our stress measure than a woman who does not use these technologies at all”.
The study focussed on a nationally representative sample of 1,801 adults and used the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) to measure stress levels among the individuals. And while the researchers couldn’t pinpoint exactly why these technologies can result in a reduction of stress, they offered a possible explanation:
“Sharing through email, sending text messages of pictures of events shortly after they happen and expressing oneself through the small snippets of activity allowed by Twitter may provide women with a low-demand and easily accessible coping mechanism that is not experienced or taken advantage of by men”.
But, the study also highlighted that people are affected by stressful events that are happening in the lives of others. This phenomenon, which is known as ‘the cost of caring’, underlines the fact that stress is contagious.
So, until you hear different, continue to utilise Twitter, send emails and share photos on a daily basis.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media and its association with stress. Does ‘tweeting’ every day make you feel happier or are there times when you dread opening your various social media accounts?