Curr Pharm Des. 2013 Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print]
Department of Psychosocial Science University of Bergen Christiesgt. 12 NO-5015 Bergen Norway. [email protected]
Research into frequent, excessive, and compulsive social network activity has increased the last years, in which terms such as “social network site addiction” and “Facebook addiction” have been used interchangeably. The aim of this review is to offer more knowledge and better understanding of social network site addiction (SNS-addiction) among researchers as well as clinicians by presenting a narrative overview of the research field in terms of definition, measurement, antecedents, consequences, and treatment as well as recommendations for future research efforts. Seven different measures of SNS-addiction have been developed, although they have to a very little extent been validated against each other. The small number of studies conducted so far on this topic suggests that SNS-addiction is associated with health-related, academic, and interpersonal problems/issues. However such studies have relied on a simple cross-sectional study design. It is therefore hard to draw any conclusions about potential causality and long-term effects at this point, beyond hypothetical speculations. Empirical studies suggest that SNS-addiction is caused by dispositional factors (e.g., personality, needs, self-esteem), although relevant explanatory socio-cultural and behavioral reinforcement factors remain to be empirically explored. No well-documented treatment for SNS-addiction exists, but knowledge gained from Internet addiction treatment approaches might be transferable to SNS-addiction. Overall, the research on this topic is in its infancy, and as such the SNS-addiction construct needs further conceptual and empirical exploration. There is a great demand for studies using careful longitudinal designs and studies which include objective measures of both behavior and health based on broad representative samples.