Neuroticism Magnifies the Detrimental Association between Social Media Addiction Symptoms and Wellbeing in Women, but Not in Men: a three-Way Moderation Model (2018)

Psychiatr Q. 2018 Feb 3. doi: 10.1007/s11126-018-9563-x.

Turel O1,2, Poppa NT3, Gil-Or O4.


Addiction symptoms in relation to the use of social networking sites (SNS) can be associated with reduced wellbeing. However, the mechanisms that can control this association have not been fully characterized, despite their relevance to effective treatment of individuals presenting SNS addiction symptoms. In this study we hypothesize that sex and neuroticism, which are important determinants of how people evaluate and respond to addiction symptoms, moderate this association. To examine these assertions, we employed hierarchical linear and logistic regression techniques to analyze data collected with a cross-sectional survey of 215 Israeli college students who use SNS. Results lend support to the hypothesized negative association between SNS addiction symptoms and wellbeing (as well as potentially being at-risk for low mood/ mild depression), and the ideas that (1) this association is augmented by neuroticism, and (2) that the augmentation is stronger for women than for men. They demonstrated that the sexes may differ in their SNS addiction-wellbeing associations: while men had similar addiction symptoms -wellbeing associations across neuroticism levels, women with high levels of neuroticism presented much steeper associations compared to women with low neuroticism. This provides an interesting account of possible “telescoping effect”, the idea that addicted women present a more severe clinical profile compared to men, in the case of technology-“addictions”.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; Mild depression; Neuroticism; Sex differences; Social media addiction; Telescoping effect; Wellbeing

PMID: 29396749

DOI: 10.1007/s11126-018-9563-x