Emotion Regulation and Desire Thinking as Predictors of Problematic Facebook Use

Psychiatr Q. 2019 Jun;90(2):405-411. doi: 10.1007/s11126-019-09628-1.


Research evidence suggests that problematic Facebook use (PFU) affects large numbers of people worldwide. A variety of studies have investigated the relationship between PFU and psychological dysfunction, revealing that negative mood and cognitive self-regulation are common among problematic Facebook users. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of craving, emotion regulation and desire thinking in predicting PFU. An online survey was administered to 750 participants (Mage = 23.38 years; SDage = 5.72). Correlation analyses indicated that all predictor variables were positively associated with PFU. Path analysis showed that imaginal prefiguration was associated with craving, which, in turn, was associated with verbal prefiguration that was directly linked to PFU, beyond the direct effect of emotion regulation. These findings provide further support for the importance of desire thinking in predicting problematic behaviours. Desire thinking and emotion regulation should be considered in the modification of problematic Facebook use.

Keywords: Craving; Desire thinking; Emotion regulation; Problematic Facebook use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Craving / physiology*
  • Emotional Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Problem Behavior*
  • Social Media*
  • Thinking / physiology*
  • Young Adult