Study finds link between problematic drinking and problematic Facebooking

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Illustration by Max Fleishman

Are you under the influence?

Whether you can't peel yourself away from Twitter, or you can't say no to a third shot of Jameson, you're basically the same kind of addict, according to a new study

study from the University of Albany finds people with “disordered SNS use”—or disordered social networking service use, defined as excessively using sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—were significantly more likely to use alcohol as a way to conform to social norms. In other words, a person tempted to obsessively check Instagram out of fear of missing out is likely just as likely to say yes to an all-night kegger to look cool.  

Research suggests that excess use of social media sites in young adults may also be associated with a heightened risk for problem drinking.  

The study asked 537 undergraduate students to report their social media usage and take an alcohol consumption assessment, looking for characteristics of substance addiction—including spending more time on the sites, feeling withdrawal, anger, or irritability when unable to access them, and craving social media.

There are three links between alcohol and social media, the study says:

  • Social media shapes what adolescents think is socially acceptable in terms of alcohol use, much like traditional media has.
  • Alcohol use may encourage excessive or inappropriate social media use, i.e., drunk Facebooking you'll regret in the morning.
  • There may be shared risk factors that increase susceptibility to both alcohol-related problems and excessive social media use.

Moral of the story: The Internet is a drug. Let's just put our phones away. 


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