Use of Facebook said to boost happiness in autistic adults

Autistic adults could remain more happy if they use Facebook in moderation, a new study has found.

According to researchers at Fielding Graduate University and University of Virginia in the US while use of Facebook in moderation helped boost happiness in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the same results were not seen for microblogging platform Twitter.

Further the finding could not be generalised to overall use of social media. Researchers found that while happiness and Facebook use increased together up to a certain point, the beneficial effect of social media use then waned.

The researchers propose that that ability to interact with others on Facebook, instead of in more challenging face-to-face interactions may help protect these individuals against mental health issues associated with ASD such as depression.

“Some studies report that up to 50 per cent of adults with ASD have co-occurring social anxiety disorder. Facebook may provide a safe starting point for training and refinement of conversational skills,” said Brenda K Wiederhold, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, in which the study was published.

“Increased self-confidence in one’s abilities may lead to eventual translation of these new skill sets into improved face-to-face interactions,” said Wiederhold.