J Behav Addict. 2016 Mar;5(1):122-129. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.007.
Background and aims
Excessive use of social networking sites (SNS) has recently been conceptualized as a behavioral addiction (i.e., “disordered SNS use”) using key criteria for the diagnosis of substance dependence and shown to be associated with a variety of impairments in psychosocial functioning, including an increased risk of problem drinking. This study sought to characterize associations between “disordered SNS use” and attitudes towards alcohol, drinking motives, and adverse consequences resulting from alcohol use in young adults.
Undergraduate students (n = 537, 64.0% female, mean age = 19.63 years, SD = 4.24) reported on their use of SNSs and completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Temptation and Restraint Inventory, Approach and Avoidance of Alcohol and Drinking Motives Questionnaires, and Drinker Inventory of Consequences.
Respondents meeting previously established criteria for “disordered SNS use” were significantly more likely to use alcohol to cope with negative affect and to conform to perceived social norms, reported significantly more conflicting (i.e., simultaneous positive and negative) attitudes towards alcohol, and had experienced significantly more, and more frequent adverse consequences from drinking in their inter- and intrapersonal, physical, and social functioning, compared to individuals without problems related to SNS use.
Discussion and conclusions
Findings add to an emerging body of literature suggesting a link between excess or maladaptive SNS use and problems related to alcohol in young adults and point to emotion dysregulation and coping motives as potential shared risk factors for substance and behavioral addictions in this demographic.
alcohol use disorder; behavioral addiction; drinking motives; problem drinking; social networking sites