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Facebook fix: scale measures addiction to site

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Developed by Norwegian researchers, The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale helps indicate levels of Facebook obsession.

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Developed by Norwegian researchers, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale provides a way to gauge Facebook obsession. As social media sites, led by Facebook, have gained popularity in recent years the extent to which the site dominates daily life has been noticeable to say the least. Researchers with the Bergen Clinics Foundation in Norway took a scientific approach to measuring Facebook's popularity.

To measure addiction, researchers asked subjects to score themselves on six different criteria, answering for each whether they fell into the very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, or very often category. Study leader and Doctor of Psychology at the University of Bergen Cecilie Schou Andreassen believes that Facebook addiction--the symptoms of which can resemble substance addiction--could be present in people who answer "often or very often" to four of the six items.

The UiB press release outlines the following criteria that subjects must rate themselves on to determine if they are addicted to Facebook:

  • You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan 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 it has had a negative impact on your job/studies

Testing run last year on 423 students found that women, young people, and extraverts are more prone to Facebook addiction, whereas organized and ambitious people are less at risk and tend to use it primarily for work and networking purposes. The distinction between using Facebook productively and using it to the point of unhealthy addiction is a key difference this scale aims to highlight.

[via UiB]

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Jenny Wilson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Jenny Wilson is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has written for Time.com and Swimming World Magazine and served stints at The American Prospect and The Atlantic Monthly magazines. She is currently pursuing a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure