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Is Facebook Driving You to Drink?

A new study finds anxious people are more likely to use Facebook, and to drink.

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Typical Facebook user. Photo via

By Bryan Le

04/11/13

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Facebook and booze may be a potentially disastrous combination, but it's a common one. According to new research, higher levels of anxiety and alcohol use were associated with a deeper "emotional connection" to Facebook. Doctoral student Russel Clayton of the University of Missouri School of Journalism surveyed more than 225 students about their loneliness, anxiety, marijuana use, drinking habits and Facebook use. He found that those who reported high levels of anxiety and loneliness were more likely to keep Facebook open as a way to stay connected with family and friends. And many of these people also used drinking as a way to "lubricate" their interactions with others. “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,” says Clayton. “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 behaviours in order to fit in socially.” Marijuana users, on the other hand, were found to be less emotionally invested in the networking site. “Marijuana use is less normative, meaning fewer people post on Facebook about using it,” Clayton explains. “In turn, people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook.”

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