Fear of missing out predicts repeated measurements of greater negative affect using experience sampling methodology

J Affect Disord. 2020 Feb 1;262:298-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.026. Epub 2019 Nov 9.


Background: Fear of missing out (FOMO) has been increasingly researched recently, especially in relation to negative affectivity constructs. Our aim was to examine relations between FOMO and repeated measurements of negative affect over one week.

Method: We investigated associations between FOMO and prospectively-measured negative affect over one week in an experience sampling study of 93 undergraduate students. Participants completed an initial web survey assessing depression, anxiety and FOMO. Over the week, participants responded to daily text messages, assessing negative affect from earlier in the day.

Results: On a bivariate basis, FOMO, depression and anxiety severity were related to daily negative affect assessments. Using multivariate growth modeling, higher initial negative affect was related to decreasing negative affect over the week. Female sex and higher anxiety related to higher initial negative affect ratings. Higher FOMO levels related to increasing negative affect over the week.

Limitations: Findings were based on self-report methodology, using university students and only one week of measurement.

Conclusions: Results suggest that women and more anxious individuals had higher initial negative affect, while FOMO predicted increasing negative affect over the week. Results advance understanding of FOMO in relation to psychopathology, and are discussed in the context of Self-Determination Theory.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Experience sampling methodology; Fear of missing out.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult