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Study: Anxiety, Alcohol Use Tied To Facebook Users

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File photo of a girl staring at Facebook.  (credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

File photo of a girl staring at Facebook. (credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (CBS St. Louis) – A new study finds that most people who post on Facebook are more likely to have anxiety or problems with alcohol.

The author of the study, Russell Clayton, is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He found that college freshmen who were anxious or drank excessively were more “emotionally engaged” to Facebook than the average student.

Clayton asked more than 225 college freshmen about their “perceived levels of loneliness, anxiousness, alcohol use, and marijuana use.” He then used that data to predict one’s emotional connectedness to the social media site.

“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,” Clayton said in a press release that was distributed by the university.

Clayton added in the press release that “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.”

Clayton went on to say that “because alcohol use is generally viewed as normative, or socially acceptable, among college students, increased alcohol use may cause an increase in emotional connectedness to Facebook.”

The researchers found that marijuana use predicted the opposite.

“Marijuana use is less normative, meaning few people post on Facebook about using it. In turn, people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook,” Clayton went on to say in the press release.

The study was published in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior.

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