1Columbia University & Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, New York, NY, USA
*Corresponding author: Frederick Muench, PhD; Director of Digital Health Interventions, Department of Psychiatry, North Shore Health System, 1010 Northern Blvd, Suite 311, Great Neck, NY 11004, USA; E-mail: [email protected]
Background and Aims
There is an emerging literature base on the relationship between maladaptive traits and “addiction” to social networking sites. These studies have operationalized addiction as either spending excessive amounts of time on social networking sites (SNS) or trouble controlling SNS use, but have not assessed the unique contribution of each of these constructs on outcomes in the same models. Moreover, these studies have exclusively been conducted with younger people rather than a heterogeneous sample. This study examined the independent relationship of a brief Facebook addiction scale, time spent on Facebook, and Facebook checking on positive and negative social domains, while controlling for self-esteem and social desirability.
Participants were recruited using e-mail, SNS posts and through Amazon’s MTurk system. The sample included 489 respondents ages from 18 to approximately 70, who completed a 10–15 minute survey.
Results indicate that neither time spent on Facebook nor Facebook checking was significantly associated with either self-esteem, fear of negative social evaluation or social comparison, while SNS addiction symptoms were each independently associated with Facebook usage. Neither time spent on Facebook nor SNS addiction symptoms were associated with positive social relationships.
Overall results suggest that time on SNS and trouble controlling use should be considered independent constructs and that interventions should target underlying loss of control as the primary intervention target above ego syntonic time spent on the site.