A new study shows that surfing the Internet and communicating through social networks does not cause stress to users, yet women who use technology suffer less stress than others.
A study by the Pew Research Center found 1,801 adults that women who regularly use social networking sites, send e-mails and publish images through their smartphones are 21 percent less stressed.
“As we were going into this, we thought we would add empirical evidence that long assumed that intensive use of the Internet and social media creates pressure at the time that would cause stress to users,” said Lee Rene, director of the Pew Internet Center. But what we found was a big surprise: the use of technology is not related to stress. ”
The study found that women who use Twitter microblogging several times a day, send or receive 25 emails a day and share two images via smartphones each day, 21 percent face less stress than those who do not.
The Pew Research Center study found that there was no difference in stress levels among men using social media, cell phones, or the Internet, and men who did not.
The stress was calculated based on their responses to 10 questions often used to measure perceived stress, and the results were compared to the use of technology and the perception of life events of friends on social networking sites.
The study also drew attention to the “cost of attention” for women who use social networks more, such that recognizing the pain of close friends can increase stress for women.
Women increased stress when social networking sites reported the death of a child, partner, or close friend’s husband. Women also suffered more stress when a friend admitted to the hospital or suffered damage.
Men, on the other hand, suffered from stress only when they learned through communication about two events their friends had experienced: exposure to low-level work or being arrested.
“We found that women could really bear the burden on their shoulders, while men were less sensitive,” said Keith Hampton, a communications professor at Rutgers University who led the research team.
The results were based on phone surveys of 1,801 adults in the United States in August and September of 2013, with a margin of error of 2.6 percent.