Passive Facebook Usage Undermines Affective Well-Being
Philippe Verduyn, et. al, (2015) conducted a study to determine the correlation between
the use of Facebook and an individual’s well-being. To form an accurate conclusion the study
was divided into two parts, Study 1 and 2.
The purpose of Study 1 was to determine a connection between Facebook use and an
individual’s “effective well-being”. This was calculated by asking a series of questions rated on a
one to 100 scale, such as, “how do you feel right now”, “how lonely do you feel right now” and
their overall satisfaction with life.
The research hypothesis of Study 1 was that either active Facebook use or passive use
would lead to individuals considering their own life to be worse than their Facebook friends’
The independent variable was the type of Facebook use. Participants, comprised of male
and female undergraduates that had an active Facebook account, were asked to use Facebook
either actively, which is defined as posting status updates, commenting on posts, and messaging
friends, or passively, by solely browsing their Facebook feed, looking at their friend’s pictures
and to refrain from active use. The dependent variable of this study was the individuals’ well-
The first study began by evaluating the individual’s well-being to set a control. Next,
each individual was asked to choose why they used Facebook, the most common answer being to
stay in contact with their friends. The 84 participants of the study were then assigned randomly
to browse Facebook passively or actively. After ten minutes, each participant was again asked the
same questions pertaining to their well-being, in addition to asking how they felt their life
compared to the lives of their friends. At the end of the day, participants received a final survey
again asking the same questions relating to well-being as well as asking how much they used
Facebook actively or passively.
The results of Study 1 were that passive Facebook users did report lower well-being at
the end of the day but neither actively or passively using Facebook had an immediate effect on
an individual feeling as though their own life was worse than their friend’s. Verduyn concluded
that one possible explanation for this result was that individuals w...