Study: Vacation Photos Leading Cause of Facebook Envy

Have you found yourself feeling sad, depressed, or even unusually angry lately? Maybe you need to stop checking Facebook for awhile. A joint study conducted by two German universities found that Facebook envy is a real thing, and perhaps as many as one out of three people actually feel worse and less satisfied with their lives after visiting the site.

The researchers said that vacation photos were the No. 1 cause of resentment, accounting for more than half of all envy incidents. After that, social interaction was the second biggest cause of envy, as Facebook users compare the number of birthday greetings, likes, and comments to those of their friends.

Grand Canyon
Do photos like these make you sad, depressed, or angry?

"According to our findings, passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations; and socialize," the study states (PDF).

The sample size is rather small -- just 600 subjects -- but the results are interesting nonetheless. For many, Facebook has become a part of daily life, a means to keep in contact with friends and family scattered across the globe and see what they're up to on a daily basis. Yet those who contribute the least, the lurkers, if you will, end up feeling the worst.