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How Facebook friends may influence alcohol abuse

Though a growing number of adolescents, young professionals, parents and elderly have begun to use Facebook in recent years, sometimes it still seems that this social networking site is still a forum for college students to document their experiences during these transformative four years. Armed with smartphones, few students can resist the urge to snap a few shots from a night out with friends and broadcast them to their social circles with the click of a button.

But, according to a new study from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Texas State University, this tendency may be fueling an ongoing cycle of alcohol abuse.

Led by doctoral student Richard Clayton, researchers asked 225 college students to complete a survey to gauge the relationship between anxiety, isolation, alcohol and marijuana use and an individual’s “emotional connectedness” to Facebook.

“When people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially,” Clayton explained in a press release distributed by RedOrbit.

In some ways, Facebook can act as an extension of the glorified images of under-age drinking that are so prevalent in TV shows and movies. While alcohol abuse is certainly a widespread concern on many college campuses, it is still possible for students to have a distorted concept of its prevalence based on the constant stream of photo albums devoted to these binge sessions.

Are you concerned that your college-age child may be abusing alcohol? At Intervention Services, we can help you address your loved one’s drinking habit head on with an alcoholism intervention. We also offer youth intervention services that are tailored to the needs of young adults.

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