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Social Media’s Impact on Physical Health

Biological Markers & Health Behaviors

How does daily social media use affect physical health? A study published in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking reports higher levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker, along with more frequent doctor or health center visits. Blood samples and questionnaires were provided by 251 undergraduate students, aged 18 to 24. First author David Lee, PhD, assistant professor of communication in the University of Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, stated, “We were able to establish a correlation between the amount of social media use and these physical health indicators. The more participants used social media, the more somatic symptoms they experienced and visits to the doctor they reported. They also showed higher levels of chronic inflammation.”

Other potential issues brought into question included chest pain, headaches, and stress. Also questioned, does high social media use take people away from health promoting activities? The study concluded that “social media use is associated with multiple indicators of physical health. Given the prevalence of social media in daily lives and the importance of social relationships to physical health, we call for additional research to examine the relation between social media use and physical health by utilizing diverse methodologies.”


Read the journal article.

Read the press release.

Holly Caster