Hooked on Facebook?

Addiction scales now include a system for Facebook addiction analysis

(RxWiki News) There are addiction scales for everything from gambling to sex, but now the social media site Facebook has its own scale too. How much time is too much time on Facebook?

Psychologists have come out and stated that there is such a thing as social media addiction. With the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale to lead the way, whether or not a person has a clinical problem with Facebook can be easily assessed.

"Is your time on Facebook negatively affecting your life and work?"

Cecilie Schou Andreassen PhD., from the Department of Psychosocial Science at the University of Bergen and Bergen Clinics Foundation in Norway, led the team that developed the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale to determine people’s dependency on the social media device—Facebook.

Internet addiction is a real thing and Facebook addiction can be a part of that. The amount of time one spends on Facebook and how or whether it negatively affects normal functioning is becoming a concern. Sleep, personal relationships, work/school and health can all be hurt by too much time on Facebook. But how does one know what too much Facebook really is?

To develop the scale, researchers took 423 students and assessed them on many scales: Addictive Tendencies Scale, Online Sociability Scale, Facebook Attitude Scale, Sleep questions and so forth. The Bergen Facebook Addiction was developed using gambling and gaming addiction scales’ wording and diagnostic criteria as models.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale represents six core aspects of addiction: can’t stop thinking about it, it changes or improves mood, have to spend more time on it to feel the same amount of reward, withdrawal symptoms, it causes conflict in relationships and responsibilities, and falling back into old behavior after a period of time away.

The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale has six criteria. Each of the criteria can be scored with a point system: 1) Very Rarely, 2) Rarely, 3) Sometimes, 4) Often, and 5) Very Often.

  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning use of 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 is has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

Researchers didn’t indicate what numerical scores would classify addiction. The scores suggested addiction to Facebook was higher in people who tended to be more nervous, moody, outgoing and talkative while rates were lower in people who were more organized and on time. People who scored high on the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale also tended to have later bedtimes and rising times.

The practical application of the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale may be to show tangible evidence to people who are in denial about their Facebook usage.

This study was published in the journal Psychological Reports, 2012. No financial information was given, and no conflicts of interest were found.

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Review Date: 
May 14, 2012