If you turn to Facebook to cope, make sure you also have IRL friends, too

It’s easy to turn to Facebook when you’re stressed out and in need of support. There’s always someone awake and online, and the “likes” and chat boxes pop up.

But you need real-world friends too when you’re under stress, a new German study says. If you don’t get offline support, you could end up addicted to Facebook.

The findings of the study came from the results of an online survey of 309 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 56. Students were specifically recruited for the study, as they are often under stress and don’t yet have strong personal networks.

It was discovered that those who didn’t reach out to, or have, real-life networks beyond Facebook were at a risk of becoming addicted to the platform when they used it in times of stress.

“Our findings have shown that there is a positive relationship between the severity of daily stress, the intensity of Facebook engagement, and the tendency to develop a pathological addiction to the social networking site,” said Julia Brailovskaia, in a release. She led the study, which was conducted by the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany.

It was noted that the effect of Facebook addiction by users in distress was diminished if they received backing from IRL family and friends.

The study was published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

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