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  • Author or Editor: Pengcheng Wang x
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Background and aims

Adolescent smartphone addiction has received increased attention in recent years, and peer relationship has been found to be a protective factor in adolescent smartphone. However, little is known about the mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying this relation. The aim of this study was to investigate (a) the mediating role of self-esteem in the association between student–student relationship and smartphone addiction, and (b) the moderating role of the need to belong in the indirect relationship between student–student relationship and adolescent smartphone addiction.


This model was examined with 768 Chinese adolescents (mean age = 16.81 years, SD = 0.73); the participants completed measurements regarding student–student relationship, self-esteem, the need to belong, and smartphone addiction.


The correlation analyses indicated that student–student relationship was significantly negatively associated with adolescent smartphone addiction, and the need to belong was significantly positively associated with adolescent smartphone addiction. Mediation analyses revealed that self-esteem partially mediated the link between student-student relationship and adolescent smartphone addiction. Moderated mediation further indicated that the mediated path was weaker for adolescents with lower levels of the need to belong.

Discussion and conclusion

High self-esteem could be a protective factor against smartphone addiction for adolescents with a strong need to belong as these students appeared to be at elevated risk of developing smartphone addiction.

Open access



Increasing research has examined the factors related to smartphone use disorder. However, limited research has explored its neural basis.


We aimed to examine the relationship between the topology of the resting-state electroencephalography (rs-EEG) brain network and smartphone use disorder using minimum spanning tree analysis. Furthermore, we examined how negative emotions mediate this relationship.


This study included 113 young, healthy adults (mean age = 20.87 years, 46.9% males).


The results showed that the alpha- and delta-band kappas and delta-band leaf fraction were positively correlated with smartphone use disorder. In contrast, the alpha-band diameter was negatively correlated with smartphone use disorder. Negative emotions fully mediated the relationship between alpha-band kappa and alpha-band diameter and smartphone use disorder. Furthermore, negative emotions partially mediated the relationship between delta-band kappa and smartphone use disorder. The findings suggest that excessive scale-free alpha- and delta-band brain networks contribute to the emergence of smartphone use disorder. In addition, the findings also demonstrate that negative emotions and smartphone use disorder share the same neural basis. Negative emotions play a mediating role in the association between topological deviations and smartphone use disorder.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the neural basis of smartphone use disorder from the perspective of the topology of the rs-EEG brain network. Therefore, neuromodulation may be a potential intervention for smartphone use disorder.

Open access