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Neuroticism and Facebook Addiction: How Social Media can Affect Mood?

Everyone experiences stress, negative mood, and anxiety at one time or another. In many people, after the conclusion of a stressful situation, the negative mood induced by the stressor also fizzles out. However, people with neurotic personality traits maintain a higher negative mood despite having no stressor. They continuously worry about the next worry that they might have to face.

Neurotic individuals experience social anxiety and may avoid social gatherings due to anxiety. Social media allows its users to create profiles without verifying any information. People with neurotic personality may prefer online communications. This is because, in an online environment, they are able to portray an idealized image of themselves to attract social support, seek validation, and also enhance mood. These motivations may lead to greater social media use and addiction.

Neurotic, negative mood, bad mood

Researchers explored whether social media use could improve the mood of people with neurotic personality traits. In one study, Abbasi and Drouin surveyed 742 Facebook users ( 474 females, 268 males) mostly living in the United States. The study confirmed the link between neuroticism and negative mood like earlier studies had reported too. However, Abbasi and Drouin reported that excessive Facebook use in neurotic people maintained their negative mood.

It is plausible that individuals who use Facebook as a tool to improve their mood may actually experience a higher negative mood due to social overload, jealousy, and envy. People who are neurotic already experience more negative mood. They avoid face to face interactions and prefer online communications. Therefore, they may be particularly inclined towards an increased Facebook use to meet people they would otherwise not meet in person. Nevertheless, the Facebook use further deteriorate their negative mood.

It is an important finding. Therapists could encourage users to engage in activities, other than social media use, that can improve mood without leading to addiction.

For Further Reading

Abbasi, I. S., & Drouin, M. (2019). Neuroticism and Facebook addiction: How social media can affect mood? American Journal of Family Therapy, 47 (4), 199–215.

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