PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2012, 12:00am


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Are you a Facebook addict? Researchers from Norway have developed the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, a new instrument to measure addiction to the social networking site.

Dr Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a psychologist who heads the University of Bergen's Facebook addiction research project, found that symptoms of Facebook addiction resemble those of addiction to drugs, alcohol and chemical substances. The results of the research, which involved 423 students (227 women, 196 men) were published recently in the journal Psychological Reports.

It was found that dependency on the social networking site occurs more regularly among younger than older users, and more in women than men. People who are anxious and socially insecure also use the site more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because the latter find it easier to communicate via social media than face to face, Andreassen says.

People who are organised and more ambitious tend to be less at risk of Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking.

Those with high scores on the Facebook Addiction Scale tended to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm.

The researchers are also working with instruments measuring other addictions, such as work. In the meantime, find out if you're a Facebook addict here:

Answer the following questions by scoring yourself on the following scale: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, (5) Very often.

- You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.

- You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.

- You use Facebook to forget about personal problems.

- You have tried to reduce the amount of time you are on Facebook without success.

- You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.

- You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

Andreassen's study shows that scoring 'often' or 'very often' on at least four of the six questions suggest that you may have a Facebook addiction.