Strategies for self-controlling social media use: Classification and role in preventing social media addiction symptoms (2019)

J Behav Addict. 2019 Sep 23:1-10. doi: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.49.

Brevers D1, Turel O2,3.



Many people present excessive patterns of social networking site (SNS) use and try to self-regulate it. However, little is known regarding the strategies employed by young adult SNS users and their role in preventing the emergence of addiction-like symptoms in relation to SNS use.


In Study 1, we employed a naturalistic-qualitative approach for finding commonly employed self-control strategies in relation to SNS use. In Study 2, we examined differences between the frequency and difficulty of the strategies identified in Study 1 and tested the process through which trait self-control exerts influence on reducing SNS addiction symptomology.


Study 1 revealed six families of self-control strategies, some reactive and some proactive. Study 2 pinpointed the most commonly used and most difficult to enact ones. It also showed that the difficulty to enact self-control strategies in relation to SNS use partially mediates the effect of trait self-control via SNS use habit on SNS addiction symptom severity.


Taken together, the present findings revealed that strategies for self-controlling SNS use are common and complex. Their theoretical and clinical significance stems from their ability to prevent the translation of poor trait self-control and strong SNS use habit to the emergence of excessive use as manifested in SNS addiction-like symptoms.

KEYWORDS: addiction symptoms; excessive social media use; self-control strategies; trait self-control

PMID: 31545100

DOI: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.49