A recent study conducted by Canadian researchers at the University Of Montreal have found that having more than 300 Facebook friends may increase a teenager’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The study also found that those teens that usually support their Facebook friends by liking what they have posted or send words of encouragement decreased stress levels.
Studies earlier have revealed that it may take more than a decade for the effects of elevated levels of cortisol-like depression to appear. The study paper speculates that online popularity could lead to peer pressure on the social media.
The research team had 88 subjects ranging from 12 to 17 years. All subjects revealed their frequency of Facebook use and the number of friends on the social site.
The researchers also took cortisol samples of the teens. The samples were taken four times a day over a period of four days.
Professor Sonia Lupien, who led the study, said that the survey was able to show that teens who have Facebook friends beyond 300 showed higher cortisol levels in their blood. One can just imagine the cortisol levels in children who have more than 1,000 to 2,000 friends in their Facebook account.
The team, however, was quick to point out that they are not indicating Facebook for the elevated cortisol levels, and there are other factors that could be coming into play. Taking these factors into account, Facebook accounted for 8% of the subject’s stress level.