Title

Hooked on Facebook: The Role of Social Anxiety and Need for Social Assurance in Problematic Use of Facebook

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2015

Abstract

There is a growing concern that excessive and uncontrolled use of Facebook not only interferes with performance at school or work but also poses threats to physical and psychological well-being. The present research investigated how two individual difference variablessocial anxiety and need for social assuranceaffect problematic use of Facebook. Drawing on the basic premises of the social skill model of problematic Internet use, we hypothesized that social anxiety and need for social assurance would be positively correlated with problematic use of Facebook. Furthermore, it was predicted that need for social assurance would moderate the relationship between social anxiety and problematic use. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted with a college student sample in the United States (N=243) to test the proposed hypotheses. Results showed that both social anxiety and need for social assurance had a significant positive association with problematic use of Facebook. More importantly, the data demonstrated that need for social assurance served as a significant moderator of the relationship between social anxiety and problematic Facebook use. The positive association between social anxiety and problematic Facebook use was significant only for Facebook users with medium to high levels of need for social assurance but not for those with a low level of need for social assurance. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings were discussed.