The Big Debate: EE or TG?

By Annalouise O’Connor, PhD, RD

What’s the controversy?

Ethyl ester (EE) or triglyceride (TG)? Is there a difference in absorption and bioavailability? This is a frequently debated, often polarizing question when it comes to fish oil supplementation and one that has continued to receive research focus over the past 30 years.

What’s the difference?

Fatty acids in an EE form are attached to an ethanol backbone. Fatty acids in a TG form are attached to a glycerol backbone. In food, the majority of fatty acids are in the TG form.

EE forms became popular because higher daily intakes of EPA and DHA, the predominant fatty acids of interest in fish oil supplements, are often desired. As natural nonconcentrated fish oil is typically 20-30%1 EPA and DHA, it can become impractical to obtain sufficiently high EPA and DHA intakes through these lower concentrated oils. To avoid pill burden and increase compliance, methods to concentrate EPA and DHA within marine oils have been developed. As part of this concentration process, natural TG molecules are broken apart and the glycerol backbone removed and replaced with an ethanol backbone to form a fatty acid EE (a process known as transesterification). EE-rich oil can be consumed as is, or further work can be done to re-esterify these back to a TG molecule. For this to happen, EE molecules are broken down, and the released EPA and DHA free fatty acids can be then re-esterified back to a TG (re-esterified TG [rTG] form), allowing for concentrated TG oils.

What’s the evidence for absorption?

Acute intake studies: Much of the evidence driving the debate around EE vs. TG absorption and bioavailability comes from acute intake studies, where researchers looked at appearance of EPA and DHA in plasma after a one-time intake. Studies have demonstrated that the appearance of EPA and DHA is greater following TG compared with EE in these studies;2,3 however, not all show differences.4,5 Differences in study design and study subjects may explain some of these differences, but the fat content of the accompanying meal may also explain some of the discrepancy between results, as coconsumption of dietary fat with EPA and DHA in EE form has been shown to increase plasma levels.6,7

Longer-term intake studies: Acute intake studies provide insight into acute absorption but don’t indicate how any postprandial variation in EPA and DHA bioavailability impacts longer-term status. Several long-term intake studies have been conducted to try to shed light on this issue. In an early study in healthy men and women, circulating EPA and DHA was seen to be higher after two weeks’ supplementation of a matched intake of EPA+DHA in TG form compared with EE.8 In a six-month study of daily intake of EPA (1.01g) and DHA (0.67g) in a rTG or EE form in men and women, omega-3 index (representing EPA and DHA status) was seen to increase in both groups, but the rTG group continued to have a light advantage at six months (change from 7.0 to 13.25 in the rTG group vs. 7.42 to 12.42 in the EE group).9 In a later study over three months comparing unmodified TG, EE, free fatty acid, or rTG in healthy men and women, the results identified that lipid structure did not have a notable and consistent impact on EPA and DHA status.4

Key takeaways

  • Clearly after 30 years of debate and research, there is still more to understand. What is understood now is that both EE and TG forms are safe and are present in high-quality formulas. Both have been shown to improve EPA and DHA status.
  • EPA and DHA, whatever the form, may be needed to fill a nutrient gap for many. On average, the daily intake of EPA and DHA, plus estimated EPA equivalents (endogenous biosynthesis from other fatty acids) from food and supplements, among American adults is 170 mg per day.11 Ninety percent of people consumed less than the minimally recommended 500 mg per day,12 and reported consumption is markedly below amounts that promote therapeutic benefits.
  • To reach goals, consuming fish oil every day (rather than the same overall weekly amount delivered as two large bolus doses) leads to faster improvement in EPA and DHA status and higher status after one year.13 So taking your fish oil supplement when you remember is better than not taking them, but consistent everyday habits are best.
  • Whatever form you are taking, make sure you are getting the most from it. Taking fish oil with a fat-rich food such as avocado, nut butters, or healthy oils is advisable, as this has been shown to increase absorption of both EE6,7 and TG forms7 of EPA and DHA.



  1. USDA Nutrient Database. EPA+DHA in Salmon Oil (NDB ID: 04593), Sardine Oil (NDB ID: 04594), and Menhaden Oil (NDB ID: 04591). Accessed July 26, 2018.
  2. El Boustani et al. Lipids. 1987;22(10):711-714.
  3. Lawson LD et al. Biochem & Biophys Res Comm. 1988;152(1):328-335.
  4. West et al. Br J Nutr. 2016;116:788-797.
  5. Nordoy et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53:1185-1190.
  6. Lawson LD et al. Biochem & Biophys Res Comm. 1988;156(2):960-963.
  7. Davidson et al. J Clin Lipid 2012;6:573-584.
  8. Dyerberg et al. Prost Leuko Essen Fatty Acids 2010;83:137-141.
  9. Neubronner et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65:247-254.
  10. Hansen et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1993;47:497-507.
  11. Richter et al. Lipids. 2017;52(11):917-927.
  12. Vannice et al. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(1):136-153.
  13. Browning et al. J Nutr. 2014;144(5):667-672.



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7 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Physical abuse is easy to identify because it is tangible. Unlike the indefinite phenomenon of being systematically torn down that is emotional abuse. Physical abuse is an easily knowable thing. That is not what I am here to discuss. I want to talk about the more covert examples of emotional abuse. I want to acknowledge the jealousy and possessiveness that rob survivors of autonomy.

You know that emotional abuse exists, but do you really know what it looks like? Do you know what to look out for? Would you be able to recognize it if you found yourself in an emotionally abusive relationship?

If emotions give us information, than the best red flags can be our own emotional responses. We need to know both what those nuanced abusive actions are, and what to look out for in our own responses.

The perpetrator of abuse will try to convince you that you are the one that needs to look at yourself and change. But, instead of automatically accepting that there is something wrong with feeling insecure, have you considered that you might be feeling that way for a good reason? Perhaps, your emotional state is trying to tell you something. Here are some signs from within you that this relationship might be emotionally abusive.

You Are Afraid of Your Partner.

This can be difficult to admit, but think, are those butterflies actually a fear response? How does your body feel when your partner gets moody or starts getting irritated about something? In healthy relationships, partner’s moods don’t send us into flight or fight mode (barring extreme trauma history on our part). If you find that you get dizzy, can’t think straight, begin to hyperventilate, get sweaty palms, start mumbling, or shaking when your partner gets upset, your body may be trying to tell you that this person is not safe.

You Feel Crazy.

You could have sworn that he insulted you, but now he is telling you, with fervor, that you misinterpreted what he said. You begin to doubt your perception of the situation. This is gaslighting. It can be applied to a number of situations. The formula is that the abusive person did something to hurt you and then later denies it. As a result, you begin to doubt your sense of reality.

You Approach Conversations Like It’s a Game of Chess.

You have to think 3 moves ahead to ensure not to set him off. You placate your partner. You dilute your needs and your message. Your partner still gets angry. This is part of the cycle of power and control that is abuse.

No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to get small enough to please the abuser in your life. It is important to accept that it is not about changing yourself. You must realize that the point of the abusive person’s complaints are to get you to walk on eggshells, not to get you to be more considerate.

You Feel Nervous When You Go Out with Friends.

You worry that you are doing something wrong even though you aren’t. It is easier not to hang out with your friends than to fight about it later. You find yourself constantly reassuring your partner that you are not cheating, want to be with no one else, and are where you said you were. None of it matters. After a while, you begin to feel guilty and nervous even though you are not lying, cheating, or doing anything to hurt your partner. This is not a sign that you should give up your friends. It is a sign that you are being manipulated and emotionally harmed.

You Question Whether You Might Be Abusive.

Abusive people are very good at shifting the blame from themselves. A common scenario is that the abuser accuses the survivor of being the abuser, and seems to completely believe it. The abuser says that the survivor does things the survivor knows to be triggering until the abuser has no choice but to react in “self-defense.” There are many problems with this line of logic. Typically the thing the abuser claims to be reacting to is already a reaction from the survivor.

Secondly, abuse is not the behaviors of yelling at someone, calling them names, or insisting they listen to you divorced from any larger cycle of cause and effect. Abuse is systematic. It is a cycle of power and control. Only the one who is asserting power over the other is the abusive one. Abusive partners will claim that anything the survivor does that is not angelic is abuse. Some abusive partners may admit they are abusive, but insist that they are not the only one in the relationship. This is another misnomer. There is only one abusive partner in an abusive relationship. There is no such thing as mutual abuse.

Abusers rarely examine their own actions and take responsibility for changing. If you are contemplating how to change your behaviors to improve this relationship, ask yourself if that is something you can see your partner doing. Rarely are abusers actually willing to admit they are abusive. Paradoxically, survivors are often willing to take on this label and the responsibility for being the agent of change in the relationship.

It Feels Like It Is the Two of You Against the World.

You know that no one else could understand you like this person does, and no one understands the bond the two of you have. Your partner knows you better than anyone else does. This is called trauma bonding. It’s the unfortunate paradox of how going through abuse with someone can create an even stronger bond. They may be the cause of the abuse, but that actually makes the bond feel stronger. It is often seen in cases of child abuse where the child is more attached to the abusive parent than to the non-abusive one.

You Feel Confused.

Anyone would after living in a relationship where their perception of reality is denied, they have to walk on eggshells, and they are accused of doing the very thing that are being done to them. If you feel confused about what is really going on in your relationship, get an outside perspective from a professional.

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A Free Course from MIT Teaches You How to Speak Italian & Cook Italian Food All at Once

At MIT, Dr. Paola Rebusco usually teaches physics to freshmen. But, on behalf of the MIT Experimental Study Group, Rebusco has devised an appealing course — Speak Italian with Your Mouth Full — where she combines teaching two things many people love: learning to speak Italian and cooking Italian food. The course summary reads:

The participants in this seminar will dive into learning basic conversational Italian, Italian culture, and the Mediterranean diet. Each class is based on the preparation of a delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture. A good diet is not based on recipes only, it is also rooted in healthy habits and in culture. At the end of the seminar the participants will be able to cook some healthy and tasty recipes and to understand and speak basic Italian.

As Rebusco explains in a short video, this course has the advantage of making the language lessons a little less abstract. It gives students a chance to apply what they’ve learned (new vocabulary words, pronunciations, etc.) in a fun, practical context.

Above, we start you off with the first language lesson in the seminar. It begins where all basic courses start — with how to say your name. Below, you can watch the class learn to cook fresh pasta. Along the way, the course also teaches students how to make espressorisottohomemade pizzabruschetta, and biscotti. Lectures for the course can be found on the MIT web site, YouTube and iTunesSpeak Italian with Your Mouth Full also appears in our collection of Free Foreign Language Lessons and 1200 Free Courses Online. Buon Appetito!

Ingredients & Cooking Instruction:

Food Preparation

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site way back in 2012.

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Amberly Rothfield: Tips From a Phone Sex Operator – Ep 54 American Sex Podcast

This hour with Amberly Rothfield is essential listening for anyone who’s ever considered being a phone sex operator, telephone dominatrix, cam performer, or XXX content creator. Amberly gives us tips from her book “How I Made $10k a Month as a Phone Sex Operator” (the electronic version is free right now BTW, get it! 250 […]

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Leather cultural district cuts ribbon

Bay Area Reporter

by Liz Highleyman

“The queer and kink communities of SOMA have faced so many challenges over the last 70 years, and yet we have refused to let go of this little corner of the world,” said Rachel Ryan, a member of the Stud collective who was part of the yearslong effort to obtain the designation.

Source: ncsf

Female Veterans with Fibromyalgia Show High Rates of Childhood Abuse

Female veterans being treated for fibromyalgia exhibit high rates of childhood abuse, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The findings suggest that screening all female veterans with fibromyalgia for childhood abuse can yield important information that may improve treatment success.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain with associated fatigue, sleep and mood issues. Although it can occur in anyone, the disorder is most prevalent in females with 75 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients being women. The condition has also been linked to exposure to interpersonal trauma.

As females now represent an increasing number of American veterans, the standardized screenings for military sexual trauma (MST) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are helpful in providing complete care to patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. However, there is currently no standard screening practice for childhood abuse history in these patients.

For the study, researchers from the VA (Veterans Affairs) Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) looked at a subset of women from a larger study focused on women veterans’ fibromyalgia care experiences at the VA to evaluate the link between child abuse history and MST in this patient population.

The findings show that among all female veterans with fibromyalgia, 90.9 percent reported experience of MST (of which 68.2 percent reported history of sexual assault). In addition, the average Child Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) score for these patients indicated moderate to high exposure to abuse in childhood, with many experiencing sexual abuse and emotional neglect.

Female veterans with greater MST exposure reported higher degrees of both childhood abuse and PTSD severity. The researchers conclude that screening for childhood trauma in women veterans being treated for fibromyalgia would yield important information that may enhance treatment.

“Our fibromyalgia patients have often told us that their disease feels ‘invisible’ at times,” said corresponding author Megan Gerber, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of women’s health at VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) and associate professor of medicine at BUSM.

“We believe these preliminary study results may help female veterans with fibromyalgia seek treatment for both their physical symptoms and trauma histories.”

“The VA is uniquely positioned to treat a complex condition like fibromyalgia and additional research is underway here to better understand interventions for this disabling chronic pain syndrome.”

Source: Boston University School of Medicine

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Expecting Work Email After Hours Can Stress Employees & Families

Monitoring work email during non-work hours is detrimental to the health and well-being of not only employees, but their family members as well, according to new research.

“The competing demands of work and non-work lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives,” said William Becker, Ph.D., a Virginia Tech associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, who co-authored the new study.

Other studies have shown that the stress of increased job demands leads to strain and conflict in family relationships when the employee is unable to fulfill non-work roles at home because they brought work home.

However, the new study demonstrates that employees do not need to spend actual time on work in their off-hours to experience the harmful effects, according to the researcher.

The mere expectations of availability increases the strain for employees and their significant others, even when employees do not engage in actual work during non-work time, he explained.

“The insidious impact of ‘always on’ organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit — increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work-life boundaries,” Becker said.

“Our research exposes the reality: ‘Flexible work boundaries’ often turn into ‘work without boundaries,’ compromising an employee’s and their family’s health and well-being.”

As negative health outcomes are costly, what can employers do to mitigate the adverse effects identified by the study? Becker said policies that reduce expectations to monitor electronic communication outside of work would be ideal.

When that is not an option, the solution may be to establish boundaries on when electronic communication is acceptable during off-hours by setting up off-hour email windows or schedules when employees are available to respond.

Additionally, organizational expectations should be communicated clearly, he said.

“If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated formally as a part of job responsibilities,” he said.

Knowing these expectations upfront may reduce anxiety in employees and increase understanding from their family members, he said.

Employees also should try practicing mindfulness, which has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, according to Becker.

Mindfulness may help employees “be present” in family interactions, which could help reduce conflict and improve relationship satisfaction, he explained. Additionally, mindfulness is within the employee’s control when email expectations are not, he said.

“Employees today must navigate more complex boundaries between work and family than ever before,” said Becker.

“Employer expectations during non-work hours appear to increase this burden, as employees feel an obligation to shift roles throughout their non-work time. Efforts to manage these expectations are more important than ever, given our findings that employees’ families are also affected by these expectations.”

Source: Virginia Tech

Photo: A new study demonstrates that employees do not need to spend actual time on work in their off-hours to experience the harmful effects. The mere expectations of availability increase strain for employees and their significant others — even when employees do not engage in actual work during nonwork time. Credit: Virginia Tech.

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Work Begins on Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier (Finally)

Back in 2008 — a decade ago — we noted that the good folks who oversee the Golden Gate Bridge finally approved a suicide barrier for this iconic landmark. Every year, 30 to 50 people jump from the bridge. With a 98 percent fatality rate, the chances of survival are not good.

Six years later in 2014, we noted that a specific barrier type was approved for the Golden Gate Bridge — a wire-mesh netting that would be mostly out-of-sight tucked underneath the bridge. It was expected that its construction would be completed by 2018.

Here it is 2018, and still no suicide barrier has been erected at the Golden Gate Bridge. What’s going on?

Suicide barriers — whether they be a net like this one, or a higher fence — are very effective in reducing people contemplating or attempting to jump to their death (and in some cases, completely effective).

Because of its iconic, beautiful nature, the Golden Gate Bridge has long attracted hundreds of suicidal people to it. Each year, somewhere between 150 and 300 people attempt to jump from the bridge. Thankfully, most are saved by trained crisis workers. But dozens more are still sadly successful in jumping off of the bridge to their death.

In 2016, for instance, there 184 successful interventions and only 39 confirmed suicide deaths. In 2017, there were 245 successful interventions, and only 33 confirmed suicide deaths, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

Since the suicide barrier was first approved in 2008, it is estimated that over 300 people have lost their lives due to jumping off of the bridge. When the new completion date was set in 2016 to be 2021, the three-year delay will add over 100 more souls to the bridge’s gruesome death count.

Work has finally begun on the suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. The construction crew began delivering crates of equipment and tools to the worksite on the bridge deck last week.

After constructing platforms for the builders, work will begin on adding brackets to the bridge that will support architectural struts. Those struts, in turn, will support the stainless-steel, marine-grade netting that will jut out from underneath the bridge deck.

The netting will be painted gray to better blend in with the water, and will be nearly invisible to the naked eye when viewing the bridge from a distance. The only clear view of the netting will be when standing on the sidewalk, looking straight down toward the water.

If someone attempts to jump, they will fall onto the net. Bridge crisis workers will be notified in order to pull the individual off of the net. Most people who jump and land on a suicide net don’t actually crawl to the edge to continue their jump. Instead, most people just wait to be rescued from the netting, which has just saved their life. Most people are thankful to be given a second chance of being alive.

According to research, suicide barriers like netting or raised fencing are very effective in reducing people using a bridge as a suicide method. At some bridges, after such barriers were erected, the number of suicide attempts was reduced to zero.

Sadly, the cost of the project has ballooned from an initial projection of $66 million to over $204 million since it was first conceived and budgeted. Just 6 years ago, the project’s estimated cost was $76 million.1

What has accounted for the ballooning cost estimates? According to a spokesperson from the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District:

Due to the complexity and difficulty of the work to be performed, construction bids on the project came in above what the District originally estimated and the budget was amended to meet the new estimates for what it would take to complete the work. It also took several years to secure funding for the project — which includes federal, state, and regional sources — including a change to federal transportation funding policy to make the project eligible for federal funds.

Countless families and mental health advocates around the country will be thankful when the bridge’s suicide barrier is finally completed in three more years. We expect the suicide rate at the bridge will drop to less than a dozen per year once the barrier is installed, saving dozens of lives every year.

No matter what the cost, the lives saved by the barrier will be worth the cost and wait.



  1. When we first started covering the suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge in 2006, the estimated cost of the barrier was between $15 and $20 million.

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Palliative Care May Reduce Suicide Risk in Veterans with Lung Cancer

Veterans with advanced lung cancer face a significantly higher risk of suicide compared to the already high rate among veterans. But this suicide risk is greatly reduced when they receive at least one palliative care visit, according to a new study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for patients with severe illness. It aims to relieve physical pain and discomfort and to address psychological issues like anxiety that diminish quality of life for those with life-threatening illnesses.

The new study is based on the data of thousands of veterans with advanced lung cancer enrolled in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Central Cancer Registry. Of the 20,900 veterans with advanced lung cancer enrolled in the registry, 30 patients committed suicide, a rate more than five times greater than the average among all veterans of a similar age and gender who use VA health care.

However, the data showed that those with lung cancer who had at least one palliative care visit after their diagnosis were 81 percent less likely to die by suicide.

Lead author Donald Sullivan, M.D., M.A, M.C.R., said the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis — particularly a lung cancer diagnosis — is underappreciated and largely overlooked in the medical community.

“Suicide is a significant national public health problem, especially among lung cancer patients and among veterans,” said Sullivan, an assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary and critical care medicine) in the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine.

“As a result, manifestations of this impact like social isolation, depression, anxiety, can go undiagnosed and untreated.”

Sullivan believes this study is the first to investigate the link between palliative care and suicide risk in cancer patients. He said that while several medical societies recommend palliative care for all patients with advanced stage lung cancer, there is often a gap between recommendations and practice.

“There are many barriers to palliative care, and unfortunately, some are related to clinician referrals,” he said. “Not all doctors are aware of the benefits of palliative care.”

Sullivan believes that palliative care should be offered to all patients shortly after receiving a diagnosis of advanced stage lung cancer. The best scenario would be an integrated approach in which patients with serious illness receive palliative care at the same time they receive other treatment therapies like chemotherapy, he said.

He emphasized that clinicians need to be vigilant for additional conditions or disorders, such as comorbid psychological illness, in their patients and to become familiar with local resources.

“For patients and families, it’s important to understand these risks exist and not to be afraid to reach out to your providers for help,” Sullivan said.

“We really can’t afford to wait for more data,” he said.

“I would like to see more efforts to screen and treat comorbid psychological illness among patients with lung cancer for which there is good evidence. I also believe more efforts are needed to integrate palliative care earlier in the lung cancer treatment paradigm.”

Source: Oregon Health & Science University


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Digital Distraction Can Leave You Feeling Distant and Drained

Our digital lives make us more distracted, distant, and drained, according to several new studies presented at the 2018 convention of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco.

For instance, even minor phone use during a meal with friends was enough to make the diners feel distracted and reduced their enjoyment of the experience, one study found.

“People who were allowed to use their phones during dinner had more trouble staying present in the moment,” said Ryan Dwyer, M.A., of the University of British Columbia, lead author of a study that was presented during a symposium on how digital technology is affecting relationships.

“Decades of research on happiness tell us that engaging positively with others is critical for our well-being. Modern technology may be wonderful, but it can easily sidetrack us and take away from the special moments we have with friends and family in person.”

Dwyer and his research team conducted two studies, a field experiment in a restaurant and a survey.

The restaurant experiment included more than 300 adults and university students in Vancouver, British Columbia. Participants were either asked to keep their phones on the table with the ringer or vibration on or to put their phones on silent and place them in a container on the table during the meal.

After eating, the participants filled out a questionnaire detailing their feelings of social connectedness, enjoyment, distraction, and boredom, as well as the amount of phone use and what they did on their phones during the meal.

The study’s findings show that people who had their phones easily accessible during the experiment not only used them more than those with their phones put away, but they also reported feeling more distracted and enjoyed the experience less.

The survey portion of the research included more than 120 participants from the University of Virginia. Participants were surveyed five times a day for one week. They were asked to report on how they were feeling and what they had been doing in the 15 minutes before completing the survey.

The results showed that people reported feeling more distracted during face-to-face interactions if they had used their smartphone compared with face-to-face interactions where they had not used their smartphone. The students also said they felt less enjoyment and interest in their interaction if they had been on their phone, the researchers report.

“The survey findings were especially notable because of the negative effects of phone use among university students, who are commonly known as digital natives,” said Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia and co-author of the study. “We assumed that this generation would be more adept at multi-tasking between using their phones and interacting with others, but we found out even moderate levels of phone use undermined the benefits of engaging with others.”

Another study presented in the session found that compassionate people spend less time on social media than people who are more self-centered and narcissistic.

That study also found that people with lower emotional intelligence, or those who have difficulty identifying, describing and processing their emotions, used social media more often than those who are more in touch with their feelings.

“People who are uncomfortable with their own and others’ emotions may be more comfortable online,” said Sara Konrath, Ph.D., of Indiana University. “We think that they may prefer text-based interactions that allow them more time to process social and emotional information.”

This study built upon previous research that has shown that more narcissistic people use social media more often than less narcissistic people. Virtually no research has been done on how emotional intelligence relates to social media use, according to Konrath.

She and her colleagues analyzed data from four studies of more than 1,200 adult participants and used existing scales that assessed narcissism, empathy, emotional intelligence, and emotion recognition. The studies also asked questions about how frequently participants checked and posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More empathic people used Twitter less frequently than those who were not as caring and compassionate toward others, the researchers found.

Also, people who were more likely to be able to see the world from another’s perspective did not spend as much time on Facebook and Instagram, according to the study’s findings.

The study also discovered that people who scored high on a test of reading others’ emotions used Twitter and Facebook less often.

Conversely, more narcissistic people and those who feel overwhelmed by the emotional experiences of others spent more time on all three social media sites.

“Does being more emotionally intelligent and empathic cause people to avoid social media, or are lower empathy people more drawn to it? It could also be the opposite: Perhaps frequently using social media can impair empathy and emotional intelligence,” said Konrath.

“We cannot determine causality with this study. We need more research to better understand how online digital technology affects people, for better or for worse.”

Other research presented found that pre-teens became better at reading non-verbal cues from their peers after five days with no screen time, and college-age participants bonded better with their friends during in-person interactions versus video chat, audio chat, or instant messaging.

Source: The American Psychological Association

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