New Delhi: In the past, various studies have pointed out the negative impacts of social media and how it can lead to increases in depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem and anxiety. But a new study by the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction revealed that the usage of popular message app ‘WhatsApp’ can positively affect our quality of relationship.
The study entitled ‘Psychosocial Outcomes Associated with Engagement with Online Chat Systems’ highlights how using the Facebook-owned social messaging app WhatsApp positively affects your mental health and your relationships with people. The study was conducted on 200 WhatsApp users (158 female users and 42 male users) who completed an online questionnaire measuring their usage of WhatsApp and motivations, online bonding, quality of relationships, group identity, and psychosocial outcomes.
Findings showed that including mediator variables of online bonding, group identity and quality of relationships was important for understanding the relationship between WhatsApp use and well-being. Specifically, online bonding mediated the relationship between WhatsApp use and social competence, and self-esteem. Group identity had an effect on all outcomes except psychological well-being.
Conversely, although minutes per day using WhatsApp was positively related to quality of relationships, this in turn, was not significantly related to any of the outcome variables.
This highlights the pertinence of accounting for key mediators underpinning the link between technology use and well-being.