Teenagers using cellphones

A recently published study is suggesting that having more than 300 friends on the social networking site Facebook results in stress among teenagers. However, the researchers also had some positive news to offer. During the study, they found that cortisol levels of stressed teens decrease when they support friends in the form of encouraging or sympathetic comments and likes.

They said a research team conducted study consisted of experts representing the University of Montreal and Institut Universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, a renowned psychiatric hospital. The findings of this study led by Prof Sonia Lupien were later published in the Psychoneuroendocrinology journal. For those who don’t know: it’s the official journal of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Teenagers using cellphones

The study has a total of 88 teenagers as participants; each of them was aged between 12 and 17 years. They were made to answer a questionnaire regarding their activities on Facebook.

Through the questions, the researchers wanted to find out how frequently they use the social networking site, how many friends they have on Facebook, the level of self-promoting behavior these teens showcase, the level of encouraging and supportive behavior they extend to their friends on social media and so on.

During the study, the cortisol standards of these teens were analyzed four times every day for three days. The researchers stressed that social media usage was not the only factor found to affect cortisol levels of the participants.

The study team factored in all external factors and then assessed that indirect effect by popular social networking platforms on the stress hormone is just around 8%. However, the findings also made it clear that stress levels of teens with more than 300 Facebook friends tend to be higher.

Lupien said that these results allowed us to assume that individuals with 1,000 or 2,000 Facebook friends are even more stressed.

The research team also discovered that teens who use Facebook to spread positivity and for encouraging friends (by writing positive comments or sending encouraging messages or pressing the like button) experience a decrease in their cortisol levels. Lupien and her team, however, didn’t look at those teenagers’ chances of having depression.