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Psychiatrist questions study linking Facebook, depression

“Using Facebook won't make us feel worse about our lives,” according to psychiatrist at Wan Fang Hospital Pan Chien-Chin (潘建志).

Pan said that as a Facebook user, he disapproved of the results of a study done by the University of Michigan recently.

According to research, Facebook could be spreading unhappiness through society as well as keeping people connected.

The study led by the University of Michigan asked 82 young people who had Facebook accounts and smartphones to reply to a series of text messages sent to them at random times each day for two weeks. They were asked how they felt, if they felt lonely, or felt worried and if they had used Facebook since they were last contacted or if they had interacted with people in any other way.

Results showed that the more participants were active on the social networking site during one period, the worse they subsequently felt, said University of Michigan social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the study.

However, Pan held a different point of view. As a Facebook user himself, he said that he has more than 5,000 friends, 3,000 subscribers, and over 2 million fans. In his opinion, going on Facebook is just like browsing news websites and blogs to absorb new information.

In addition, loneliness and Facebook both had an independent impact on happiness, he said, adding that there is no evidence linking Facebook to depression.

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