The Relationship Between Facebook Use and Well-Being Depends on Communication Type and Tie Strength

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

By: Moira Burke, Robert Kraut


An extensive literature shows that social relationships influence psychological well-being, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We test predictions about online interactions and well-being made by theories of belongingness, relationship maintenance, relational investment, social support, and social comparison. An opt-in panel study of 1,910 Facebook users linked self-reported measures of well-being to counts of respondents’ Facebook activities from server logs. Specific uses of the site were associated with improvements in well-being: Receiving targeted, composed communication from strong ties was associated with improvements in well-being while viewing friends’ wide-audience broadcasts and receiving one-click feedback were not. These results suggest that people derive benefits from online communication, as long it comes from people they care about and has been tailored for them.