Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 14;8(8):e69841. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069841. eCollection 2013.


Over 500 million people interact daily with Facebook. Yet, whether Facebook use influences subjective well-being over time is unknown. We addressed this issue using experience-sampling, the most reliable method for measuring in-vivo behavior and psychological experience. We text-messaged people five times per day for two-weeks to examine how Facebook use influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our results indicate that Facebook use predicts negative shifts on both of these variables over time. The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. Interacting with other people "directly" did not predict these negative outcomes. They were also not moderated by the size of people's Facebook networks, their perceived supportiveness, motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression. On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.