People who use WhatsApp experience a powerful boost to their mental health. That’s the claim from researchers who surveyed 200 people to discover how the chat app affected their mood and wellbeing.
Dr Linda Kaye, a senior lecturer in psychology at Edgehill University said that WhatsApp ‘has a positive impact on psychological wellbeing’.
Her research found that people who spent more time on the messaging service felt less lonely and experienced a boost to their self-esteem as a result of ‘feeling closer to friends and family’.
Dr Kaye said: ‘There’s lots of debate about whether spending time on social media is bad for our well-being but we’ve found it might not be as bad as we think.
‘The more time people spent on WhatsApp, the more this related to them feeling close to their friends and family and they perceived these relationships to be good quality.’
“As well as this, the more closely bonded these friendships were and the more people felt affiliated with their WhatsApp groups, the more this was related positively to their self-esteem and social competence.
‘Group affiliation also meant that WhatsApp users were less lonely. It seems that using WhatsApp to connect with our close friends is favourable for aspects of our well-being.’
The research involved 58 women and 41 men with an average age of 24.
Participants used WhatsApp for an average of 55 minutes and were particularly fond of its group chat function.
Dr Kaye added: ‘This research contributes to the ongoing debates in this area and provides specific evidence of the role of social factors, along with social support motivations for using communication technology.
‘Specifically, the findings show how including factors relating to social bonding capital is highly pertinent within this field as a way of understanding how technology usage relates to psychosocial well-being.
‘It gives rise to the notion that social technology such as WhatsApp may stimulate existing relationships and opportunities for communication, thereby enhancing aspects of the users’ positive well-being.’