What explains the association between usage of social networking sites (SNS) and depression symptoms? The mediating roles of self-esteem and fear of missing out

Nga Man LEUNG, Wilbert LAW, Yvonne Yiqing LIANG, Antony Chun Lam AU, Cheng Li, Kin Shing Henry NG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

The goal of the study was to understand the mechanisms of how social networking sites (SNS) usage is related to depression symptoms, as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CESD). Three studies were conducted to examine the mediation roles of self-esteem and Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). In Study 1, among 347 Chinese college students, time spent on SNS was negatively associated with self-esteem; while self-esteem then negatively associated with depression symptoms. In Study 2, among 180 Chinese college students, time spent on SNS was positively related to FoMO; while FoMO then positively related to depression symptoms. In Study 3, among 233 Chinese university students, both self-esteem and FoMO were simultaneously included in the mediation model to test their respective roles in explaining depression symp-toms. Results showed that more time spent on SNS was related to lower self-esteem, and higher FoMO, respectively; while self-esteem then negatively, and FoMO then positively, explained depression symptoms, respectively. In addition, when participants spent 3.5 h (Study 1), 2.5 h (Study 2), and 2.54 h (Study 3) on SNS, they reached the cutoff for subthreshold depression, as measured by CESD. Combining results from three studies, both self-esteem and FoMO mediated the relation between SNS usage and depression symptoms. This study provides implications to understand the mechanism of SNS-related depression. Copyright © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3916
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number8
Early online date08 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Citation

Leung, A. N. M., Law, W., Liang, Y. Y., Au, A. C. L., Li, C., & Ng, H. K. S. (2021). What explains the association between usage of social networking sites (SNS) and depression symptoms? The mediating roles of self-esteem and fear of missing out. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083916

Keywords

  • Social media
  • Fear of missing out
  • Self-esteem
  • Depression

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