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article imageBlog and Be Healthy, Researchers Say

By Bob Ewing     Mar 3, 2008 in Health
Find yourself in a better mood, feeling more connected to the world , spending time on a social network or blog? Then you may be giving your health a boost, according to two studies that say that blogging and social network have a positive affect.
If you are a blogger or have been spending time on a social networking site and notice that you have been in a better frame of mind lately, it may be the digital interaction that is causing the feeling.
Researchers James Baker and Susan Moore have produced two papers that take an in-depth look at the psychological benefits of blogging and regularly updating personal Web pages with information that invites others to comment.
The Swineburne University of Technology researchers, according to the Discovery News report say that blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face.
The team’s first paper was published in the journal CyberPsychology and Behaviour and compares the mental health of people intending to blog with that of people not planning to blog.
The team contacted 600 MySpace users personally and directed them to an online survey. There were 134 people who completed the questionnaire; 84 intended to blog and 50 didn't.
"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 ... they were also more likely to use venting or expressing your emotions as a way of coping," Moore said.
"It was as if they were saying 'I'm going to do this blogging and it's going to help me'."
The researchers, as yet unpublished second paper, showed that it did help.
Questionnaires were to the same group of MySpace users and this time 59 responded. The respondents all reported that they experienced 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, both those who keep a blog and those who did no, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.
"So going onto MySpace had lifted the mood of all participants in some way," Moore says. "Maybe they'd just made more social connections."
This is early research and hopes to follow a larger group of people for a longer period time to test some of the research findings.
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