Facebook Related to Teen Stress; Teens With Many FB Friends at High Risk


Too many Facebook friends may not be a good idea after all.

Researchers at the University of Montreal recently found that tons of friends in social network may cause stress particularly to teens.

In a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers found that once teens exceeded 300 friends, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to increase than teens who have fewer than 300.

In the research, 88 participants, aged 12 to 17, were asked about their Facebook use. The questions include how many friends they have, how often they visited the site, how they present themselves on the network, and how they supported their online friends, Huffington Post noted.

For three days, cortisol samples were collected from the adolescents at least four times each day. The result showed teens with more than 300 Facebook friends showed consistent high levels of cortisol.

Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that is closely related to stress. It’s also called stress hormone since it regulates many activities of the body once it goes into flight-or-fight mode, Your Health magazine noted.

Although there are other factors that could cause stress to teens, study lead author professor Sonia Lupien said they had estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around 8 percent.

Huffington Post pointed out a separate study that stated excessive stress on teens could be a sign that they may experience depression later in their adolescence life.

“We did not observe depression in our participants. However, adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on,” Lupien said.

According to Your Health magazine, stress is not totally bad, rather it is a normal response of the body to a threat. However, once stress becomes chronic and the body releases excessive amount ot cortisol, it can have an adverse effect on the body, such as inflammation that can damage some organs.

“It can also increase the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer”, the magazine added.

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