Is Facebook creating iDisorders: The link between clinical symptoms of psychiatric disorders and technology use attitudes and anxiety (2013)

Computers in Human Behavior

Volume 29, Issue 3, May 2013, Pages 1243–1254

L.D. Rosen, ,K. Whaling   S. Rab, L.M. Carrier, N.A. Cheever


This study systematically tested whether the use of specific technologies or media (including certain types of Facebook use), technology-related anxieties, and technology-related attitudes (including multitasking preference) would predict clinical symptoms of six personality disorders (schizoid, narcissistic, antisocial, compulsive, paranoid and histrionic) and three mood disorders (major depression, dysthymia and bipolar-mania). In addition, the study examined the unique contributions of technology uses after factoring out demographics, anxiety and attitudes. Teens, young adults and adults (= 1143) completed an anonymous, online questionnaire that assessed these variables. Each disorder had a unique set of predictors with 17 of the 22 significant predictors being Facebook general use, impression management and friendship. More Facebook friends predicted more clinical symptoms of bipolar-mania, narcissism and histrionic personality disorder but fewer symptoms of dysthymia and schizoid personality disorder. Technology-related attitudes and anxieties significantly predicted clinical symptoms of the disorders. After factoring out attitudes and anxiety, Facebook and selected technology uses predicted clinical symptoms with Facebook use, impression management and friendship being the best predictors. The results showed both positive and negative aspects of technology including social media as well as apparently detrimental effects of a preference for multitasking.


  • Technology use, anxiety, and attitudes predict symptoms of nine psychiatric disorders.
  • Facebook general use and impression formation were the best predictors.
  • More friends predict more symptoms of some disorders but fewer symptoms of others.
  • Multitasking preference predicts more clinical symptoms of nearly all disorders.


  • Psychiatric disorders;
  • Facebook;
  • Multitasking;
  • Technology;
  • Anxiety