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And if you ever need self validation / Just meet me in the alley by the railway station
- Morrissey

MySpace users who blog are more prone to distress, self-loathing and ranting than MySpace users who don't blog, a study has found.

Who would have guessed?

"Intending bloggers were more psychologically distressed and more likely to use venting and self-blame to cope with this stress than were non-bloggers," report Professors Baker and Moore, at the Swunburne University of Technology in Victoria, Australia.

"Since intending bloggers were more psychologically distressed than non-bloggers, it is unsurprising that they more frequently used the unhelpful coping strategy of self-blame."

The academics canvassed 124 users, and the results are published in an article entitled "Distress, Coping, and Blogging: Comparing New MySpace Users by Their Intention to Blog" in Cyber Psychology and Behaviour.

The theraputic aspects of blogging have been noted before.

"Intending bloggers were significantly more discontented with their number of online and face-to-face friends," add Baker and Moore.

From this conclusion, the authors leap to this puzzling recommendation: "This finding suggests that blogging might be used to increase social networking and improve existing social-support structures."

Er, what? Surely the social-support structures work if you can get the patients to leave the house - and once they're blogging, they have less time for real interaction. And if no one reads the blogs, isn't the self-loathing likely to increase?

Also, since the internet is symmetrical - blogging could be a way for non-bloggers to avoid people with low self-esteem - again, increasing the cycle of misery. Sadly, this isn't explored.

You can see the findings here [pdf, 72kb]. ®

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