While many studies have pointed towards the fact that spending most of your time online is harmful to your health, a new study has said that text-based messaging apps such as WhatsApp which have a group chat feature, could actually have a positive impact on a person’s psychological well-being.

The study has been titled “Psychosocial Outcomes Associated with Engagement with Online Chat Systems”, which finds out how does WhatsApp affect the mental health of users. The test comprised of an online questionnaire measuring WhatsApp use and motivations, online bonding, quality of relationships, group identity, and psychosocial outcomes.

A sample size of 200 users was chosen wherein there were 158 women and 42 men who had an average age of 24 years. What the study found out was that the daily use of WhatsApp amongst these users was around 55 minutes. The popularity of  WhatsApp and its group chat feature was the reason it was chosen for the test.

The study concluded that the more time people spent on the messaging app per day, the closer they felt to their friends and family.

Dr Linda Kaye, a senior lecturer in Psychology from the University of York, who co-wrote the study said, “the more closely bonded these friendships were and the more people felt affiliated with their WhatsApp groups, the more this was related positively to their self-esteem and social competence.”

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