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We also asked about their use of their mobile phone; the number of messages they text (an average of 32 messages per day), pictures sharing via text (an average of 2 pictures per day), and the number of people that they text with (an average of 4 people per day).Given the important differences in stress levels based on age, education, marital status, and employment status, we used regression analysis to control for these factors.Given the popularity of Facebook, we also asked very specific questions about users’ networks and what people do on that platform: number of friends (the average was 329), frequency of status updates (the average was 8 times per month), frequency of “Liking” other people’s content (the average was 34 times per month), frequency of commenting (the average was 22 times per month), and how often they send private messages (the average was 15 times per month).
The PSS consists of ten questions and measures the degree to which individuals feel that their lives are overloaded, unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Participants were asked: In the last 30 days, how often have you: Participants responded on a 4-point scale from “frequently” to “never.” The ten items were combined so that a higher score indicates higher psychological stress (the scale ranges from 0-30 with zero representing no stress and 30 representing the highest level).
Stress might come from maintaining a large network of Facebook friends, feeling jealous of their well-documented and well-appointed lives, the demands of replying to text messages, the addictive allure of photos of fantastic crafts on Pinterest, having to keep up with status updates on Twitter, and the “fear of missing out” on activities in the lives of friends and family.
We add to this debate with a large, representative study of American adults and explore an alternative explanation for the relationship between technology use and stress.
However, with the exception of Twitter, for the average person, the relationship between stress and these technologies is relatively small.
Women who are heavier participants in these activities report less stress.On average, men reported stress levels that were 7% lower than for women.There are other demographic characteristics that are related to stress.The average American adult scored 10.2 out of 30 on the PSS.One of the starkest contrasts in our survey was between the level of reported stress experienced by men and women.It makes sense to wonder if the use of digital technology creates stress.There is more information flowing into people’s lives now than ever — much of it distressing and challenging.On average, older adults, and those who are employed tend to have less stress.In the survey, respondents were asked about their use of social networking sites: We asked people about the frequency with which they use different social media platforms, such as Facebook (used by 71% of internet users in this sample), Twitter (used by 18% of internet users), Instagram (17%), Pinterest (21%), and Linked In (22%).We test the possibility that a specific activity, common to many of these technologies, might be linked to stress.It is possible that technology users — especially those who use social media — are more aware of stressful events in the lives of their friends and family.