Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blogging and Health

Policy Innovations ran a story earlier this year about addiction problems related to online gaming, citing an American Medical Association report suggesting that "gaming addiction is likely to be a subset of Internet addiction and may cause negative physical, psychosocial, or behavioral problems."

An search for "Internet addiction" returns over 400 books, mostly self-help guides, and you can take online quizzes to help you determine if you suffer from excessive Internet use. According to the New York Times, the constant pressure some bloggers feel to keep their blogs up-to-date can create stress-related health problems.

But a study released this month suggests otherwise. Researchers James Baker and Susan Moore from the Swinburn University of Technology surveyed MySpace users who were intending to start blogging and found in follow-up questionnaires that “after two months of regular blogging, people felt they head better social support and friendship networks than those who did not blog.”

We found potential bloggers were less satisfied with their friendships and they felt less socially integrated, they didn't feel as much part of a community as the people who weren't interested in blogging," Ms Moore said.

"They were also more likely to use venting or expressing your emotions as a way of coping.

"It was as if they were saying 'I'm going to do this blogging and it's going to help me'."
In the follow-up:

Bloggers reported a greater sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people and feeling more confident they could rely on others for help.

All respondents, whether or not they blogged, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.

Are these findings contradictory, or does blogging have different effects on different personality types? It would seem that individuals with addictive personalities or compulsive tendencies would be more inclined to run into health problems with continuous blogging, whereas those with problems socializing offline may find blogging more helpful.

If the latter is true, does that mean a code of blogging ethics would have to be tailored to address individual psychological or social predispositions?

1 comment:

Dr Karen said...

It also seems to me that the impact of regular blogging is also related to the purpoise of the blogging.

That social network blogs build stronger social networks shouldn't be too surprising.

What would be interesting would be to have comparison groups of entrepeneurs who blog to build their own businesses or "professional" bloggers who are required to "blog on demand" to a paid-for schedule.