From Emotional (Dys)Regulation to Internet Addiction: A Mediation Model of Problematic Social Media Use among Italian Young Adults

J Clin Med. 2021 Dec 30;11(1):188. doi: 10.3390/jcm11010188.


Internet addiction (IA) has mostly been investigated with the fear of missing out and difficulties in emotional regulation. The present study examined the link between IA and variables related to problematic social media use (i.e., fear of missing out, social media addiction), together with emotional (dys)regulation and personality traits, providing new insights and an integrated assessment of IA. In total, 397 participants, aged 18-35 years (M = 22.00; SD = 3.83), were administered a set of questionnaires pertaining to IA, problematic social media use, emotional (dys)regulation, and personality traits. Pearson's correlations showed significant associations between IA and the investigated variables, and the tested mediation model highlighted the crucial role played by emotional (dys)regulation in the fear of missing out and problematic use of social networks. Overall, the findings provide support for a new integrated model for understanding the features, predictors, and risk factors of IA.

Keywords: behavioral addiction; disorder; emotion; fear of missing out; internet addiction; mediation; personality traits; risk factors; social media addiction.