This just in: Facebook is addicting. Well, unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, then you probably already know that. But now, there is definitive proof.
Norway's University of Bergen recently published the results of its "Facebook Addiction" research project, finding that women are more likely to develop an addiction to the social network that boasts more than 500 million daily users.
The report also indicated an alarming finding: Facebook dependency produces symptoms similar to those seen in alcohol and substance addictions.
"The use of Facebook has increased rapidly," Professor Cecilie Schou Andreassen, Ph.D, who heads the project, said in a statement. "We are dealing with a subdivision of Internet addiction connected to social media."
During January 2011, 423 students, 227 of which were women, self-assessed their feelings toward six statements relating to Facebook use. Answers ranged from "very rarely" to "very often."
Responses of "often," or "very often" to at least four of the six questions qualified study participants as Facebook addicts.
Andreassen explains women have a higher risk for Facebook addiction because of the social nature of the beast. Her assertion is backed by studies that show women are significantly more active on Facebook than men.
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, women are also more likely to delete friends from social networks like Facebook, taking an active role in their online social presence.
However, women are not the only ones who are more susceptible to Facebook addiction. Andreassen also found that dependency occurs more frequently among younger than older users. What's more, Facebook users who are anxious and socially insecure are more likely to develop a need to maintain their social presence on the site.
Rate yourself on the Facebook Addiction Scale.
Record your responses -- very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often or very often -- to the six following statements.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan to use Facebook.
- You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
- You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
- You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
- You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
- You use Facebook so much that it has a negative impact on your job/studies.
Now count up the number of times you answered "often" or "very often."