Authors:Xiang-Ling Hou, Hai-Zhen Wang, Tian-Qiang Hu, Douglas A. Gentile, James Gaskin, and Jin-Liang Wang
Background and aims
Perceived stress has been regarded as a risk factor for problematic social networking site (SNS) use, yet little is known about the underlying processes whereby confounding variables may mediate or moderate this relationship. To answer this question, this study examined whether depression and anxiety mediated the relationship between perceived stress and problematic SNS use, and whether these mediating processes were moderated by psychological resilience and social support.
Participants were 641 Chinese college students who completed anonymous questionnaires measuring perceived stress, depression/anxiety, psychological resilience, social support, and problematic SNS use.
The results showed that (a) depression/anxiety mediated the relationship between perceived stress and problematic SNS use; (b) the mediating effects of depression/anxiety on the association between perceived stress and problematic SNS use were moderated by psychological resilience. Specifically, the mediating effects of depression/anxiety were stronger for individuals with lower levels of psychological resilience, compared with those with higher levels of psychological resilience; and (c) the mediating effects of depression/anxiety were not moderated by social support, although social support was negatively related to depression/anxiety.
Discussion and conclusion
This study can contribute to a better understanding of how and when perceived stress increases the risk of problematic SNS use, and implies the importance of enhancing psychological resilience in preventing problematic SNS use.