It makes sense to assume that constantly posting pictures from nights of heavy drinking could, in some cases, be an early sign of alcoholic behaviors. But generally, we'd think that the way you drink (and how much) is more indicative of danger ahead than the pics you post on social media, right? Well, a study by the Seattle Children's Hospital has found a pretty convincing correlation between college students with alcohol dependency issues and posting — or even bragging — about those behaviors on Facebook.
The study was undertaken as part of an effort to identify alcoholism at a younger age, which could make it easier to treat. Though the students knew their profiles were being monitored, it didn't seem to prevent them from posting enthusiastically about their binge drinking. Out of a group of 400 students monitored over four years at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington, 22 were found to be alcohol-dependent based on their results from an "alcohol use disorders identification test." And while only a third of those 22 students were posting about drinking in their freshman year, by the end of the four-year study, all of them were regularly giving updates about alcohol consumption.
Megan Pumper, a research associate for the Seattle Children's Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (yes, that exists), explained that "If we could help people discover their dependence issues by using clues from Facebook, maybe we can help them sooner acknowledge that they may have a problem...These are the people that need the most help. These are people who may not know they have a problem."
Chances are, if you drink, you've posted about it on Facebook once or twice. From pictures of your fancy cocktail hour at a rooftop bar to guilty-pleasure status updates about a crazy night on the town, there are a lot of stories to tell. But have you ever noticed it becoming a problem in your own social group — or for you, personally? (BetaBeat)