Being exposed to more information about distressing episodes of contacts makes social networks a major cause of stress. In addition, according to one study, contagion occurs to a greater extent among women, since they have a higher empathic condition than men, more sensitivity.

Having active accounts on social media a day is not stressful in it, says a new study by American researchers. What stresses, especially women, is to find out in this way of sad or conflicting episodes that are going through close friends or family.

What it is, then, is the “cost of compassion” that affects some social network users, concluded specialists from the Pew Research Center and Rutgers University (The State University of New Jersey) who formulated their conclusions on the basis to data from a survey involving 1,801 adults.

“There is no evidence in our data that managed social media network users are stressed more or less depending on their use of digital technologies,” said sociologist Keith Hampton, co-author of the study. What is distressing “is finding out and receiving reminders of undesirable events in the lives of other people. This finding about the cost of compassion is the evidence that stress can be contagious, “said the Rutgers researcher.

 “When a form of communication -verbal or not- enters our knowledge or cognition produces an emotional impact that can cause stress,” says Daniel López Rosetti, head of the Stress Medicine service at the San Isidro Hospital. “ Stress -continues- is a normal phenomenon of the organism, but above a level it ceases to be and produces signs and symptoms” For the doctor, bad stress or distress “is truly contagious” because it has to do with the emotional management and social being of man. This is explained: “The brain functions interconnected with the surrounding society, whereby emotions are transmitted from the historical point of view in the evolution of our species more directly, fully and intensely than rational mechanisms. This is because we are emotional beings that reason, with which the concept of contagion in allegorical and metaphorical terms linked to the fact that stress is ultimately something similar to virosis, is scientifically sustainable because man is a social animal and the brain interacts socially. “

For many, Facebook is a cathartic platform. Photos of everyday life, happy and post-banal situations with farewells of family members or friends who died, prayer requests for sick people, divorces, job losses, pet deaths, etc. are mixed on the walls. Therefore, the researchers consider Mark Zuckerberg’s network “that provides higher levels of awareness of the stressful events that occur in the lives of close and not-so-close friends”.

“The entry of information by any means can cause stress and, in the case of social networks, image communication greatly enhances written communication,” says López Rosetti, who is also president of the Argentine Society of Stress Medicine.

What is distressing is finding out and receiving reminders of undesirable events in the lives of other people.

The report notes that “contagion” is stronger among women. That is due, the Argentine specialist analyzes, because “women have a greater empathic condition than men. He has greater sensitivity for empathy to place him in the place of the other. Things get more meat. ”