Your Facebook Profile Could Launch Mental Illness

Posted: 02/02/2013 in News
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Everybody has that one crazy Facebook friend. They overshare, Write Cryptic statuses or poorer, type in all caps.


Those Seemingly annoying posts, or lack thereof, could be more than just news feed fodder. Facebook profiles could be used as insight into mental health issues, a new study says.

According to researchers at the University of Missouri, whether you post once an hour or once a month can be an indicator of your psychological state. Researchers surveyed more than 200 college students to gauge their levels of extroversion and support of strange beliefs, then asked participants to print their Facebook activity. Students had the option of blacking out portions of their Timeline.

What they chose to obscure revealed information about their psychological state, study researcher Alpesh Sharma says in a statement.

Some individuals exhibited social anhedonia, a condition characterized by lack of pleasure from communicating and interacting with others. Their symptoms ranged from social withdrawal to odd beliefs, and those same people posted less photos, communicated less frequently via Facebook and had a lower friend count.

Others showed signs of paranoia based on how much information they blacked out on their profile.

The idea for the study came through a conversation between Alpesh and the second author, Abhilash, who doesn’t have a Facebook outline A discussion arose about profile content and its correlation to psychology.

“The Internet is novel way to study human psychology because it can ameliorate some of the self-report biases associated with paper-and-pencil reports,” Alpesh told Blog in an email. “Because of the real or imagined perception of anonymity, the Internet may allow unique access to the psyche.
One’s social networking information can be understood as an example of one’s naturalistic behavior.”

Though it’s unclear whether or not therapists and psychologists can use social networks for treatment, Alpesh says the study is a first step to using the information to possibly provide a more complete clinical picture.

What do you think your Facebook profile says about you? Do you believe this may be an successful measure of mental health? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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