Lee Rainie, the research group's director, said that when they headed into the study, they thought it would prove that bit of conventional wisdom that high social media use leads to higher stress levels overall, but instead, it pushes against it, the Washington Post reported.
Lead author Keith N. Hampton of Rutgers University said that social media provides "supportive exchange," that is, people feel less stressed because they can stay in contact with friends and family, and feel that community support.
Hampton said that women are likelier to be active sharers than men and posting a quick photo on Instagram or update on Facebook is a low-cost, easy way to do that, adding that while not everyone wants to see them all the time, posting may be important for women in reducing stress.
Stress levels were 21 percent lower in women who had higher than "average" social media use in this study, that was defined as a person who checks Twitter a few times a day, checks Facebook a few times per day, shares a few pictures and gets around 25 e-mails per day.
It's likely that venting about the bad things in her life on social media makes a woman feel better, while simultaneously raising the stress levels of the women near and dear to her, what Hampton and Rainie term the "cost of caring."
The study is published by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
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