On the other hand, teens who act in ways that support their Facebook friends - for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement – decreased their levels of cortisol.

Researchers at the University of Montreal and the Institute universitaire de sante mentale de Montreal, led by Professor Sonia Lupien, found that Facebook can have positive and negative effects on teens' levels of stress hormone.

The researchers recruited 88 participants aged 12-17 years who were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and the supporting behaviour they displayed towards their friends.

Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents. The samples were taken four times a day for three days.

Other studies have shown that high morning cortisol levels at 13 years increase the risk of suffering from depression at 16 years by 37 percent.

While none of the adolescents suffered from depression at the time of the study, Lupien could not conclude that they were free from an increased risk of developing it.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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