Is the Excessive Use of Microblogs an Internet Addiction? Developing a Scale for Assessing the Excessive Use of Microblogs in Chinese College Students (2014)

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 18;9(11):e110960. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110960. eCollection 2014.

Hou J1, Huang Z2, Li H3, Liu M4, Zhang W2, Ma N2, Yang L2, Gu F2, Liu Y4, Jin S3, Zhang X5.


More and more college students are using microblogs, with some excessive users demonstrating addiction-like symptoms. However, there is currently no published scale available for use in assessing excessive use of these microblogs, a significant impediment to advancing this area of research. We collected data from 3,047 college students in China and developed a Microblog Excessive Use Scale (MEUS) for Chinese college students, comparing it with criteria used for assessing Internet addiction. Our diagnostic scale featured three factors, two of which-“withdrawal and health problem” and “time management and performance”-are already included in Internet addiction assessment scales. The third factor, “social comfort,” does not appear in Internet addiction assessment scales. Our study found that females have significantly higher MEUS scores than males, and that total MEUS scores positively correlated with scores from “self-disclosure” and “real social interaction” scales. These findings differ from results obtained in previous investigations into Internet addiction. Our results indicate that some characteristics of the excessive use of microblogs are different to those of Internet addiction, suggesting that microblog overuse may not correspond exactly to the state of Internet addiction.