Facebook Activity May Reveal Clues To Mental Illness


Facebook activity could be an indicator for psychological health, and be used as tools by therapists and psychologists

New research carried out by scientists in the College of Missouri and printed within the journal Psychiatry Research, has says social networking profiles can offer understanding of the mental health of patients.

Social networks, like Facebook, have become more and more popular and therefore are being a primary way of communication and socialization. Although it has been determined that there’s elevated use by individuals around the schizophrenia-spectrum, couple of particulars are recognized to what depth.

Study leader Elizabeth Martin, doctorate student in MU’s mental science department within the College of Arts and Science, stated:

“Therapists could possibly use social media activity to create a more complete clinical picture of a patient. The beauty of social media activity as a tool in psychological diagnosis is that it removes some of the problems associated with patients’ self-reporting.

For instance, questionnaires frequently rely on an individual’s memory, which might be accurate. By asking patients to talk about their Facebook activity, we could observe how they expressed themselves naturally. The areas of their Facebook activities they made a decision to hide uncovered details about their mental condition.”


Martin and her team asked a group of volunteers to print their Facebook activity and linked aspects of their activity with the level to which these people showed schizotypy, an assortment of symptoms including social withdrawal to unusual beliefs.

As expected, several participants showed signs of the schizotypy condition called social anhedonia – the inability to encounter happiness from normally enjoyable activities, such as interacting and talking to peers.

These people with social anhedonia were more likely to:

  • have fewer friends on Facebook
  • communicate less frequently
  • share fewer pictures
  • have a longer Facebook profile

Social anhedonia was also significantly linked to extraversion. Additionally, extraversion was a predictor of the number of photos and friends, and length of time since last communicating with a friend.

Some research volunteers hid important areas of their Facebook profiles before giving their activity towards the scientists. These folks also demonstrated schizotypy signs and symptoms, known as perceptual aberrations – irregular encounters of a person’s magical ideation and senses – also referred to as the fact that encounters without any source-and-effect are distantly linked.

Concealing Facebook activity was also linked to higher levels of paranoia.

One Comment

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