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      Effects of Social Networking Service (SNS) Addiction on Mental Health Status in Chinese University Students: Structural Equation Modeling Approach Using a Cross-sectional Online Survey

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          Abstract

          Background

          Although social networking services (SNSs) have become popular among young people, problematic SNS use has also increased. However, little is known about SNS addiction and its association with SNS use patterns and mental health status.

          Objective

          This study aims to test the mediating role of SNS addiction between SNS use patterns and mental health status among Chinese university students in Hong Kong (HK).

          Methods

          An online cross-sectional survey was conducted using a convenience sampling method. In total, 533 university students (323 [66.9%] female, mean age [SD]=20.87 [2.68] years) were recruited from February to March 2019. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the association between SNS use and SNS addiction. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed to examine the pathways and associations among SNS use, SNS addiction, psychosocial status, and mental health status (including anxiety and depressive symptoms).

          Results

          A longer time spent on SNSs per day (>3 h), a longer time spent on each SNS access (≥31 min), a higher frequency of SNS access (≤every 30 min), a longer duration of SNS use before sleeping (≥61 min), and a shorter duration from waking to first SNS use (≤5 min) were significantly associated with a higher level of SNS addiction (adjusted beta [aβ]=6.03, 95% CI 4.66-7.40; aβ=4.99, 95% CI 3.14-6.83; aβ=5.89, 95% CI 4.14-7.64; aβ=5.92, 95% CI 4.19-7.65; and aβ=3.27, 95% CI 1.73-4.82, respectively). SEM showed a significant mediating effect of SNS addiction in the relationship between SNS use and psychosocial status, and mental health status, including an indirect effect (β=0.63, 95% CI 0.37-0.93) and the total effect (β=0.44, 95% CI 0.19-0.72), while the direct effect was insignificant (β=–0.19, 95% CI –0.49 to 0.08).

          Conclusions

          SNS use patterns were associated with SNS addiction, and SNS addiction mediated the associations between SNS use, psychosocial status, and mental health status of Chinese university students in HK. The findings suggest that screening for and addressing excessive SNS use are needed to prevent SNS addiction and mental distress among young people.

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          Most cited references69

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          Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives

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            New Well-being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings

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              A Short Scale for Measuring Loneliness in Large Surveys: Results From Two Population-Based Studies.

              Most studies of social relationships in later life focus on the amount of social contact, not on individuals' perceptions of social isolation. However, loneliness is likely to be an important aspect of aging. A major limiting factor in studying loneliness has been the lack of a measure suitable for large-scale social surveys. This article describes a short loneliness scale developed specifically for use on a telephone survey. The scale has three items and a simplified set of response categories but appears to measure overall loneliness quite well. The authors also document the relationship between loneliness and several commonly used measures of objective social isolation. As expected, they find that objective and subjective isolation are related. However, the relationship is relatively modest, indicating that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of social relationships are distinct. This result suggests the importance of studying both dimensions of social relationships in the aging process.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Med Internet Res
                J Med Internet Res
                JMIR
                Journal of Medical Internet Research
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                1439-4456
                1438-8871
                December 2021
                8 December 2021
                : 23
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Nursing The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China
                [2 ] Department of Medicine The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China
                [3 ] Red Cross College of Nursing Chung-Ang University Seoul Republic of Korea
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Jung Jae Lee leejay@ 123456hku.hk
                Article
                v23i12e26733
                10.2196/26733
                8701716
                34889760
                075dc847-b063-496b-ac28-d7ce3b09d6ae
                ©Tingxuan Wang, Janet Y H Wong, Man Ping Wang, Amanda Chiu Yin Li, Sang Suk Kim, Jung Jae Lee. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (https://www.jmir.org), 08.12.2021.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                Categories
                Original Paper
                Original Paper

                Medicine
                social networking service,sns,addiction,depression,anxiety,psychosocial status,youth,mental health
                Medicine
                social networking service, sns, addiction, depression, anxiety, psychosocial status, youth, mental health

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