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Study links number of Facebook friends, stress

A new study found a link between higher stress and the number of Facebook friends a person has.

The study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said stress levels seem to climb with every Facebook friend people add.

Melissa Flint, a psychologist with Midwestern University, said people need to understand the difference between a Facebook friend and a real friend.

"If you're putting out whatever is on your mind and you have 900 Facebook friends, somebody might be offended and shoot something back," she said. "It becomes a battleground."

Flint said that battlefield creates a great deal of anxiety for some people who posted seeking approval and instead found themselves in a war of words.

"A lot of people feel like they can post things that they wouldn't say to a person if that person were standing right in front of them," she said.

Many people have Facebook friends that play games with people that they may have met only once. Flint said many of those people don't share your beliefs.

"Don't consider them in your friends circle. Your 'friends.' You need to carefully consider who you call a friend and that has become very loose. You need to set boundaries. Choosing your battles wisely really comes into play on Facebook. Facebook was never meant to be the entirety of our relationships and for a lot of people it has become that and that's not how we're meant to live."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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