Over at The Atlantic‘s Health channel, Brian Fung reports on Norwegian researcher Cecilie Schou Andreassen’s Facebook addiction studies.
Earlier this year, Andreassen published something called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale in Psychological Reports. Unlike drugs or alcohol, individuals with Facebook addiction have no physical substance to abstain from—for this reason, Andreassen likens it more to another behavioral addiction: gambling. “Originally, participants were asked 18 questions and those answers were correlated with a variety of other psychological tests and measures of problematic media usage,” writes Fung.
In an email the The Atlantic, Andreassen explained:
All addictions, chemical and non-chemical, appear to comprise six core components: (1) salience (the activity dominates thinking and behaviour), (2) mood modification (the activity modifies/improves mood), (3) tolerance (increasing amounts of the activity are required to achieve initial effects), (4) withdrawal (occurrence of unpleasant feelings when the activity is discontinued or suddenly reduced), (5) conflict (the activity causes conflicts in social relationships and other activities), and (6) relapse (tendency for reversion to earlier patterns of the activity after abstinence or control).
These six core components of addiction can be used as questions in self-assessment of Facebook addiction, and can be answered: very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, or very often.
How often during the last year have you…
• spent a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planned use of Facebook? (Salience)
• used Facebook in order to forget about personal problems? (Mood modification)
• felt an urge to use Facebook more and more? (Tolerance)
• become restless or troubled if you have been prohibited from using Facebook? (Withdrawal)
• used Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies? (Conflict)
• tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success? (Relapse)
How do you score? [TheAtlantic]