New research suggests people who receive and accept new friend requests are more likely to live longer than people who do not.
Published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, researchers argue that people who received many friend requests were less likely to die over the course of two-years than those who did not.
Researchers analyzed Facebook activity and mortality rates of registered California voters and discovered these results. Senior author James Fowler, a social scientist at the University of California – San Diego, wanted to study the relationship between health and social media.
Researchers examined 12 million Facebook users and matched their user profiles to the California Department of Public Health records in addition to voter registration database. The scientists found that there was no correlation between how many friend requests people sent to other people and how long they lived. However, people who received and accepted friend requests were 34 percent less likely to die in the next two years than those who received and accepted fewer friend requests.
The study also found that people who posted several photos with real-world interactions also had a lower chance of dying.
Scientists involved in the study argued that real-life social interactions and meeting other people are essential to a person’s health. Lead researcher in the study, Williams Hobbs, argued that “We’ve known for a long time, for decades now, that offline social networks, especially social integration, [were] related to longer life. But we didn’t know if that extended to online interactions too.”
Researchers have long tried to research the impact social media has had on health. Recently, scientists found a correlation between happiness and selfies. Published in the journal of “Psychology of Well-Being”, a study following 41 college students found who took selfies felt more “mindful, reflective, and appreciative.” In addition, students who sent photos to other people felt more connected to that person.
With that being said, researchers at Western Illinois studied nearly 300 college students and found people with more friends on Facebook were more likely to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder – a psychological disease that makes people they are more important than they really are.