College freshmen who reported high levels of anxiousness and alcohol use appeared to be more connected with Facebook, while those who reported high levels of loneliness and anxiousness use the social network to connect with others, according to the results of a recent study.
Russell Clayton, now a doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, conducted a survey of more than 225 freshmen, under the supervision of Randall Osborne, Brian Miller, and Crystal Oberle of Texas State University
Clayton also found that because alcohol use is generally viewed as normative, or socially acceptable, increased alcohol use may lead to increased emotional connectedness to Facebook, while the opposite was true for marijuana use, which is not as widely accepted. He wrote:
People who perceive themselves to be anxious are more likely to want to meet and connect with people online, as opposed to a more social, public setting. Also, when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.
Marijuana use is less normative, meaning fewer people post on Facebook about using it. In turn, people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook.
Readers: Are you surprised by any of Clayton’s findings?
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