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For Better or Worse

Facebook Use and Wellbeing Among Community Mental Health Care Clients

Kjelsaas, Kathleen DCP*; Mecklenburgh, Naomi*; von Hippel, Courtney PhD*; Brener, Loren PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: August 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 8 - p 659–667
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001025
Original Articles
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Online social networking is ubiquitous, but research regarding its relationship to wellbeing has yielded contradictory results. This study examined the relationship between Facebook use and wellbeing among community mental health service clients. Twenty-six clients from a community mental health service provided access to their Facebook page. Seven aspects of 3674 Facebook posts were coded, and cross-lagged multilevel models were estimated over three periods to establish the relationship between Facebook use and wellbeing over time. Some aspects of Facebook use were related to wellbeing within the same period, although this pattern of relationships did not emerge longitudinally. Although Facebook has the potential to forge social connections for those who are socially isolated, Facebook use was neither helpful nor harmful over time among people with mental health problems. Given the prevalence of social networking, a clearer understanding of its impact on wellbeing is critical for mental health providers.

*School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane

Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Send reprint requests to Courtney von Hippel, PhD, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. E-mail: c.vonhippel@uq.edu.au.

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