Psychological Risk Factors that Predict Social Networking and Internet Addiction in Adolescents

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 26;17(12):4598. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124598.


Adolescents' addictive use of social media and the internet is an increasing concern among parents, teachers, researchers and society. The purpose was to examine the contribution of body self-esteem, personality traits, and demographic factors in the prediction of adolescents' addictive use of social media and the internet. The participants were 447 Spanish adolescents aged 13-16 years (M = 14.90, SD = 0.81, 56.2% women). We measured gender, age, body self-esteem (body satisfaction and physical attractiveness), personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, disinhibition and narcissism) and social networking and internet addiction (internet addiction symptoms, social media use, geek behaviour, and nomophobia). The effects of gender, age, body self-esteem and personality on the different dimensions of internet addiction were estimated, conducting hierarchical linear multiple regression analysis and a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). The results evidenced different pathways explaining four types of adolescents' internet addiction: gender and disinhibition were the most relevant predictors of addiction symptoms; gender combined with physical attractiveness best explained social media use; narcissism and neuroticism appear to be the most relevant predictors of geek behaviour; and narcissism was the variable that best explained nomophobia. Furthermore, the advantages and differences between both methodologies (regressions vs. QCA) were discussed.

Keywords: adolescents; body self-esteem; fsQCA models; internet addiction; personality traits; social networking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior, Addictive*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Narcissism
  • Personality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Networking*