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Psychiatry Online

  • March 1, 2024 | VOL. 19, NO. 3 CURRENT ISSUE pp.2-13

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Facebook Addiction: An Emerging Problem

  • Anindita Chakraborty , M.D.

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As of July 2016, Facebook had more than 1.71 billion active users per month, with 1.1 billion log-ins every day ( 1 ). It has been estimated that the average American spends approximately 40 minutes per day on Facebook and that approximately 50% of 18–24 year-olds visit Facebook as soon as they wake up ( 1 ). The ubiquitous nature of Facebook has sparked a growing body of literature that suggests its addictive potential ( 2 ). The present article is a review of the literature on the emerging problem of compulsive Facebook use and its potential as an addictive disorder.

A literature search was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar. The following search terms, as well as their derivatives, were entered: “Internet addiction,” “Facebook,” “social media,” “social networking sites,” “addiction,” “dependence,” and “addictive behavior.” The search on Internet addiction retrieved a large number of articles, and ultimately five were reviewed in depth. The search on Facebook and social media and addiction retrieved 58 articles, of which 25 were reviewed in depth. Fifteen of these articles focused on Facebook addiction.

Addictive Behavior Online

The first attempts to study online addiction date back almost two decades, when Kimberly Young, one of the first researchers in the area, proposed diagnostic criteria for a phenomenon known as “Internet addiction” ( 3 ). Although not included in DSM-5, Internet addiction is thought to share some key traits with substance use disorder, such as tolerance, withdrawal, and negative repercussions ( 4 ). Today, Internet addiction is viewed as a spectrum of online addictions, and compulsive Facebook use falls within that spectrum.

Facebook Addiction

“Facebook addiction” is a term coined by researchers that is applied to individuals who engage in excessive, compulsive Facebook use for the purposes of mood alteration, with negative personal outcomes ( 5 ). In other words, a person with Facebook addiction may subjectively experience a loss of control while continuing to use Facebook excessively despite its detrimental effects on the individual’s life ( 6 ). However, excessive use may not be considered addictive unless it is compulsive; for example, one may spend long hours on Facebook for the purposes of work without being addicted ( 5 ). Because Facebook is currently the most popular social networking site, and empirical studies of Facebook use outweigh studies of other social networking sites ( 7 ), the present review focuses on the emerging problem of Facebook addiction.

Facebook allows users to create profiles and form connections with other users called “friends.” Friends may interact with each other by messaging and sharing photos, videos, or personal interests while traversing information about the activities of their friends and their friend’s friends. Users can enhance their profiles with a multitude of apps; for instance, users can play games, gamble, and generate polls, as well as integrate other social networking sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Facebook can also be used by professionals to market their services and connect with their audiences. Users are constantly notified of new online activity by a live news feed, which could encourage addiction by acting as classically conditioned cues on a variable interval reinforcement schedule ( 8 ).

As Facebook addiction is an emerging focus of study, current screening instruments have been designed based on measures of other behavioral addictions ( 5 ). Most of these scales are rooted in the six core components of addiction ( 9 ). For instance, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is based on six items measured on a Likert scale, with each item reflecting a symptom of addictive behavior: 1) salience (“You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it”); 2) tolerance (“You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more”); 3) mood modification (“You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems”); 4) relapse (“You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success”); 5) withdrawal (“You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook”); and 6) conflict (“You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies”) ( 10 ). Although these scales have been independently psychometrically validated, factor analysis reveals inconsistencies in measurements, indicating lack of construct validity ( 5 ). This lack of consensus regarding the conceptualization and diagnosis of Facebook addiction is the main point of contention in this developing area of research.


Addiction is associated with an imbalance between activity in two key brain systems: the impulsive amygdala-striatal system and the reflective inhibitory prefrontal brain system. In substance addiction, the amygdala-striatal system is hyperactive, resulting in intensified impulses for addictive behavior, whereas the prefrontal cortex is hypoactive, resulting in an inability to stop impulsive behaviors after they have been triggered ( 11 ). Turel et al. ( 12 ) examined the involvement of these neural systems in Facebook addiction. Participants first completed a Facebook addiction questionnaire. Then, using a go/no-go paradigm with functional MRI, the researchers examined how these brain systems responded differently between Facebook signs and traffic signs and correlated addiction scores with brain activity. They found that both substance addiction and Facebook addiction were associated with hyperactivity in the amygdala-striatal system. However, Facebook addiction was not associated with alterations in prefrontal cortex activity, suggesting that individuals with Facebook addiction may have the capacity to stop their impulsive behavior ( 12 ). This pattern of hyperactive impulsivity and unchanged impulse inhibition is similar to that observed in Internet gaming addiction ( 13 ). Although this study is limited by its cross-sectional design, these findings suggest that Internet-based addictions and substance addiction have differing underlying pathophysiology.

Risk Factors

Facebook addiction is most commonly studied in college students and tends to have a female preponderance. Certain personality traits such as extraversion, narcissism, high levels of neuroticism, and lower levels of self-esteem correlate highly with compulsive Facebook use ( 10 , 14 ). According to Caplan’s social skill model, lonely, depressed individuals who develop preference for online means of interaction are prone to problematic Internet use ( 15 ). In line with this, researchers found a relationship between anxiety and depression and compulsive Facebook use ( 16 ), suggesting that individuals with poor psychosocial health may use Facebook as an escape from daily life. Moreover, Muench et al. ( 17 ) suggested that social insecurities, such as social comparison (“I feel that others have better lives than I do”), fear of missing out (“I feel I am missing out on enjoyable social interactions more than others”), and fear of negative social evaluation (“I worry about what other people think of me”), are associated with dysfunctional Facebook use. However, there is no association between Facebook addiction items and the existence of positive offline social relationships, suggesting that Facebook addiction is driven primarily by social insecurity rather than a lack of positive social relationships ( 17 ).


When used in moderation, Facebook can facilitate relationships and improve self-esteem ( 18 ); however, maladaptive use can lead to negative life consequences. Facebook can be detrimental to academic performance, as Kirschner et al. ( 19 ) found that Facebook users have lower grade-point averages and spend fewer hours studying than non-Facebook users. Of those who reported that it had a negative effect on their academic performance, 74% stated that using Facebook to procrastinate made them feel like they were working ( 19 ). Compulsive Facebook use has also been shown to disrupt sleep. People scoring high on Facebook addiction scales report delayed bedtimes and rise times on both weekdays and weekends compared with people with lower Facebook addiction scores ( 10 ). The freedom of self-presentation can make Facebook users prone to presenting idealized versions of themselves online, and researchers have found that consuming large amounts of information about other people can elicit feelings of envy. That is, people who regularly use Facebook are more likely to agree that others have better lives than them and that life is unfair, whereas those who have a more active offline social life appear to have a more balanced view of other people’s lives ( 20 ). Using the social rank theory of depression, Tandoc et al. ( 21 ) argue that envy arising from competition for social status can make people vulnerable to depression. They found that feelings of envy triggered by using Facebook for surveillance predicted symptoms of depression, with surveillance referring to purposely consuming others’ personal information ( 21 ). Furthermore, concerning romantic relationships, Elphinston et al. ( 22 ) found a link between compulsive Facebook use and relationship dissatisfaction due to jealousy and surveillance behaviors.

Currently, there are no specific treatment approaches for Facebook addiction, and therefore researchers suggest using strategies used to treat Internet addiction ( 6 ). Psychotherapeutic approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy and multilevel counseling. In the former, clients are taught to cognitively restructure certain negative beliefs and catastrophic thinking, such as “everyone has better lives than I do.” In the latter, clients are led through the stages of change using motivational interviewing while involving family and peers. Pharmacologic agents are generally chosen based on existing comorbidities, such as depression ( 6 ).


Facebook addiction is an emerging problem, and research on compulsive Facebook use is in an incipient stage. The majority of evidence is based on cross-sectional studies using self-reported data among populations confined to college students. Thus, future research could employ more longitudinal study designs among more generalizable populations. Qualitative data may help in understanding users’ expectations and symptoms on a day-to-day basis, and their empirical correlates can contribute to developing scales with construct validity. Until then, more research is needed to validate Facebook addiction as a clinically significant entity.

Key Points/Clinical Pearls

Facebook addiction is a behavioral addiction derived from Internet addiction that is characterized by excessive, compulsive use of Facebook.

Risk factors of Facebook addiction include narcissism, extraversion, neuroticism, and social insecurity.

Similar to other addictions, individuals with Facebook addiction can present with symptoms of tolerance, withdrawal, salience, conflict, and relapse.

Treatment strategies for Facebook addiction include psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy to treat existing comorbidities.

The author thanks Katherine Akers, Ph.D., Dr. Richard Balon, M.D., and Ms. Lorie Jacob, Sc.M., for their invaluable assistance with this article.

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Open Access


Research Article

Facebook addiction and affected academic performance among Ethiopian university students: A cross-sectional study

Contributed equally to this work with: Aman Dule, Zakir Abdu, Mohammedamin Hajure, Mustefa Mohammedhussein

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Software, Supervision, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation Department of Psychiatry, Collage of Health Sciences, Mettu University, Mettu, Oromia, Ethiopia

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Affiliation Department of Psychiatry, School of Health Sciences, Madda Walabu University, Goba, Oromia, Ethiopia

¶ ‡ MG, WG and AD also contributed to this work equally.

Affiliation Department of Nursing, Collage of Health Sciences, Mettu University, Mettu, Oromia, Ethiopia

  • Aman Dule, 
  • Zakir Abdu, 
  • Mohammedamin Hajure, 
  • Mustefa Mohammedhussein, 
  • Million Girma, 
  • Wubishet Gezimu, 
  • Abdissa Duguma


  • Published: February 6, 2023
  • Peer Review
  • Reader Comments

Table 1

Addiction is an extreme craving for and commitment to something, physically or psychologically. Currently, addiction to social media is the main emerging technology addiction, especially among the young generation. The main aim of the current study was to evaluate the status of Facebook addiction and its relation to academic performance and other correlates among university students. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 422 students from December 1–30, 2021, and Facebook addiction was examined with the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Study Habit Questionnaire (SHQ) were employed to assess self-esteem, anxiety and depression symptoms, and study habits, respectively. Systematic random sampling was used to recruit the subjects, and the data were analyzed by SPSS version 23.0. Statistics such as percentages, frequencies, mean ± SD, and mean differences were calculated. Multiple regression analysis was performed, and all the required assumptions were checked. The statistical significance was declared at a p-value < 0.05 and a 95% CI. Results revealed that, the mean age of the students was 23.62 (SD = ±1.79) and 51.6% of the participants were male. The majority of the participants were addicted to Facebook, and Facebook addiction was positively linked with factors like lower academic achievements and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In conclusion, Facebook addiction was found to be higher among study participants, and it is negatively affecting their academic performances. Similarly, it was associated with affected mental well-being and reduced self-esteem. It is better for the legislative body of the university to put firm policies in place for promoting safe use and reducing the detrimental effects of this problem among students.

Citation: Dule A, Abdu Z, Hajure M, Mohammedhussein M, Girma M, Gezimu W, et al. (2023) Facebook addiction and affected academic performance among Ethiopian university students: A cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE 18(2): e0280306.

Editor: Md. Tanvir Hossain, Khulna University, BANGLADESH

Received: April 23, 2022; Accepted: December 27, 2022; Published: February 6, 2023

Copyright: © 2023 Dule et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


In a medical context, addiction is defined as an extreme craving for and commitment to something, either physically or psychologically [ 1 ]. In the current era, internet addiction is the main emerging technology addiction [ 2 ]. Serving as ways of connection among people, addiction to the internet and social media has become a pandemic globally [ 3 ].

Among available social media, Facebook has become the chief means of interaction, especially among university students [ 4 ]. Despite its usage as the bridge of connection, it is considered an emerging challenge in different aspects, especially among the young generation [ 5 ] and university students, partly because of its heavy and aimless usage [ 6 ]. As its users are currently increasing, controlling the detrimental effects of Facebook is becoming more challenging, specifically in developing countries with unconfirmed regulatory policies [ 7 ].

As the studies revealed, extended use of Facebook has led to poor academic performance, bullying activities, decreased face-to-face contact, sleep disruptions, and mental health disturbances [ 8 , 9 ]. Log-in-related distractions such as uploading, commenting, and chatting with friends are leading to procrastination of learning activities [ 8 ] and sinking academic success among university students currently [ 10 ].

The previous study revealed that too much use of Facebook was related to a lower grade point average (GPA) and disturbances in daily routine activities [ 9 ]. It has been reported that students who are more addicted to Facebook have poor study habits and lower academic achievements [ 11 ]. Similarly, those adolescents who were addicted to Facebook demonstrated poor study habits, which resulted in deprived academic performances [ 12 ]. Another study has shown that students with high Facebook addiction had disturbed social interactions and relationships that could affect their future careers [ 11 ].

It has also been reported that extensive use of Facebook is related to behavioral disturbances and poor academic performance among university students, which influences their ways of life and interactions with others [ 13 ]. On the other hand, Facebook addiction has been directly linked to anxiety and depression among university students and has impacted their social lives and mental well-being [ 14 ].

Nowadays, the extensive use of social media could cause substantial disruptions in the academic achievements of university students. Hence, knowing the magnitudes of facebook addiction and highlighting its predictors is so vibrant in forwarding the ways to challenge this problem. However, no study had examined Facebook addiction and its correlates in Ethiopia as far as we could reach, and this study was considered a pioneer in Ethiopia. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to evaluate the extent of Facebook addiction and its relation to the academic performances of regular undergraduate university students.

In the current study, multiple variables were assessed by standardized tools, which makes its findings sounder. In different previous studies, various variables were evaluated in relation to Facebook addiction. The combination of these different variables in the current study makes it unique.

Contribution of the current study

Considering this purpose, the findings from this study will contribute in serving as baseline for future studies. Additionally, it will add value to existing knowledge and help provide evidence-based practices. Furthermore, the results of this study will help planners and policymakers in the context of university education.

Methods and materials

Participants and study setting.

The study was conducted at Mettu University’s College of Health Sciences among 422 undergraduate students. Mettu University is one of the public universities found in the southwest of Ethiopia, about 600 km away from the capital city of the country.

Study period and design

The current study utilized a cross-sectional design and was conducted from December 1–30, 2021.

Eligibility criteria

Those students who enrolled in the regular program and were active Facebook users were included in the study. Daily active Facebook users were those who logged in at least once per day via the mobile app or a web or mobile browser [ 15 ]. First-year students were excluded because of the current Ethiopian educational roadmap [ 16 ], where first-year students are not placed in a specific department but stay on common courses until they reach their second year.

Sample size determination and sampling procedures

facebook addiction essay pdf

nh –sub-sample from each batch

n –The final sample size of the study = 422.

Nh –The total number of students in each batch

N –The total number of students in the college (source population) = 883.

After proportional sub-samples were calculated, the required number of participants from each batch was recruited using a systematic random sampling technique, considering the “K” value, which was computed depending on the registration number of the students ( Table 1 ).


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Data collection instruments and procedures

Structured and pretested original English questionnaires were administered to the participants. The questionnaire contained socio-demographic information and questions to assess the status of Facebook addiction, anxiety, depression, and study habits of the study participants.

Demographic characteristics such as age, sex, academic year, and grade point average (GPA) of the students were collected. Facebook addiction was considered an outcome variable and was examined with the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). The tool was developed by Andreassen et al. and was constructed on six essential elements of addiction (mood modification, silence, conflict, tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse) [ 18 ]. The tool had six self-report items that corresponded to each basic component of addiction and were scored on a Likert scale of 1 (very rarely) to 5 (very often) [ 19 ]. The tool yields a score of 6–30, in which a higher score indicates greater addiction to Facebook, and the cut-off point for Facebook addiction was suggested by authors as a score ≥ 3 on at least four items (polythetic scoring) [ 18 ]. The tool has been widely validated [ 20 – 23 ] and Cronbach’s alpha was 0.91 in this study.

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) was employed to assess the global self-esteem of the participants. This tool had 10 items, out of which 5 were stated negatively (items 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9) and reversely scored [ 24 ]. For items 1, 3, 4, 7, and 10, the tool scored on a 4-point scale ranging from strongly disagree (0) to strongly agree (3), and the inverse for the remaining items. Accordingly, the higher the score, the greater the self-esteem [ 25 ]. The tool was widely validated [ 25 – 27 ] and has excellent internal consistency in the current study (CA = 0.95).

The occurrence of depression and anxiety symptoms was examined by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). This tool contained seven items for each sub-scale, which were scored on a scale of 0–3 points [ 28 ], and it was previously validated in Ethiopia [ 29 ]. The Cronbach’s alpha values were 0.79 and 0.84, respectively, for the depression and anxiety subscales, and the higher score indicates a higher level of anxiety and depression symptoms.

Study habits were examined by the Study Habit Questionnaire (SHQ) developed by Thomas et al. [ 30 ]. The tool had 12 items that were worded positively and scored on a Likert scale of 4, from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). The Cronbach’s alphas were 0.81 [ 30 ] and 0.90 in the original and current studies, respectively.

Statistical analyses

For all analyses, SPSS version 23.0 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA) was used. To present categorical variables, percentages and frequencies were employed, while mean and standard deviation (SD) were considered for continuous variables. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t-test analyses were used to compute the groups of variables with normal distributions. For post-hoc group analysis, the Tukey HSD test was performed. Multiple regression analysis was performed, all the required assumptions were checked, and no violations were detected. The variance inflation factor (VIF) was used to test for multicollinearity, and no significant collinearity was found. To determine residual independence, the Durbin-Watson test was used, and statistical significance was declared at a p-value of less than 0.05 and a 95% CI.

Ethical approval and informed consent

All participants had signed written consent before data collection, and all information from participants was kept confidential. An ethical clearance letter (reference number: RPG/100/14) was obtained from the ethical review committee of the College of Health Sciences at Mettu University, and the Helsinki Declaration principles were followed to perform the study.

Sociodemographic characteristics of participants

The data from four hundred and three study subjects were fully analyzed, giving a response rate of 95.5%. The participants had a mean age of 23.62 (SD = ±1.79), and 51.6% of them were male. On average, students spend more than an hour (66.97 minutes ± 48.24) daily using Facebook; 50–400 Ethiopian Birr (ETB) were spent monthly for Facebook use, and 42.9% of participants spent ≥ mean value ( Table 2 ).


The independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to compare Facebook addiction to the mean score of the groups by sex and academic year, respectively, and no significant differences were found among the groups.

Psychosocial characteristics of study participants

The participants in the current study had a mean self-esteem score of 14.74 (8.23), and the mean scores for anxiety and depression symptoms indicated an abnormal (case) level for the study subjects, as shown in Table 3 .


The pattern of facebook use among study participants

The mean score of the BFAS was 16.47 (SD = 5.95), indicating that the average number of study participants were addicted to Facebook. As per the suggested cut-off points (score ≥ 3 at least four items), the majority (67.2%) of the students were addicted to Facebook.

Factors associated with Facebook addiction

Bivariate and multivariable regression analyses were done to detect the predictors of Facebook addiction among students. In the bivariate analysis, anxiety and depressive symptoms showed a positive association with Facebook addiction, whereas the last semester’s GPA, study habits, and self-esteem showed a negative correlation with Facebook addiction at a significant level ( Table 4 ).


In the multiple linear regression analysis, the last semester’s GPA [β: -10.01, 95% CI: -10.85, -(-9.18)], self-esteem [β: -0.091, 95% CI: -0.139, -(-0.044)], anxiety symptoms (β: 0.104, 95% CI: 0.024–0.183), depressive symptoms [β: 0.026, 95% CI: 0.06–0.112], and study habits [β: -0.008, 95% CI: -0.041, -(-0.056)] showed a statistically significant association with Facebook addiction. In the final model, these predictors contributed a total of 69% of the variance in Facebook addiction among university students (R = 0.829, R 2 = 0.687, F = 174.08, P <0.001) ( Table 5 ).


In the current study, there was a significant negative correlation between the GPA of the students and Facebook addiction, in which one unit increase in the student’s GPA from the last semester decreased Facebook addiction by 10.01 (p<0.001). Similarly, as the mean score of students’ self-esteem increased by one unit, the Facebook addiction decreased by 0.091 (p<0.001). On the other hand, a point increase in the mean score of anxiety and depressive symptoms, respectively, resulted in a 0.104 and 0.026 (p<0.05) unit increase in the total score of the Facebook addiction scale among university students.

Due to the rising trends of social media usage among university students, Facebook addiction has been examined in many countries. However, this study, which identified Facebook addiction and its correlation to academic performance and other psychosocial variables, was assumed to be the first of its kind in our country. As the study revealed, 67.2% (95% CI = [62.3–72]) of the students were addicted to Facebook. This finding appeared higher than in the previous studies [ 13 , 31 – 33 ]. The difference in the findings probably resulted from the difference in the study settings and the year of the studies. On the other hand, because the current study was conducted recently, a higher level of Facebook addiction is expected as evidence indicating the increasing use of social media in the current era [ 34 ].

The study found that Facebook addiction has negative relationship with academic performance of the students, as indicated by the last semester’s GPA report [β: -10.01, 95% CI: -10.85,-(-9.18)]. This finding is in agreement with the previous studies conducted in India [ 11 ], Iraq [ 9 ], Pakistan [ 35 ], and Sri Lanka [ 10 ]. Although various studies have found that Facebook addiction has negative effects on university students, a study from Pakistan [ 4 ] found that Facebook could help with communication and information gathering. In another study, Saleem et al. [ 14 ] reported the absence of a correlation between Facebook addiction and the academic performance of the students. The discrepancies among these findings might be due to the result of the parameters used to measure academic performance and the tool used to assess the participants. For instance, in the study that reported the usefulness of Facebook use among students, they employed the qualitative (in-depth interview and focus group discussion) means of data collection, in which the drawing of accurate and reliable data is difficult [ 36 ]. Moreover, in the later study, the authors considered the previous year’s GPA to measure academic performance, which may mask the real effects of current Facebook addiction.

A significant negative relationship between Facebook addiction and self-esteem was discovered in the current study [β: -0.091, 95% CI: -0.139,-(-0.044)] and a positive correlation with the academic achievements of the students. This finding is consistent with the study conducted in Malaysia [ 37 ], where non-addicted students had reported higher self-esteem and better academic performance. The finding seems logical, as individuals with high self-esteem are more confident and likely to perform well. A supportive finding has been reported by Blachnio et al. [ 38 ], in which individuals with Facebook addiction had lower self-esteem and poorer life satisfaction. Similarly, the study conducted in Iran [ 39 ] revealed that lower self-esteem predicted an increase in Facebook addiction among university students.

In the current study, the scores of anxiety and depression symptoms showed a statistically significant positive relationship with Facebook addiction. This finding is supported by a prior study [ 31 ], in which up to 20% of Facebook-addicted students reported anxiety and depressive symptoms. Similarly, the study conducted among Pakistani students [ 11 ] revealed a strong positive relationship between Facebook addiction and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, we identified a number of previous studies [ 32 , 39 – 42 ] that reported the negative correlation of Facebook addiction with anxiety and depressive symptoms in university students.

Even though empirical findings were reached during this study, some limitations are inevitable. For instance, the cross-sectional nature of the current study could limit the cause-effect inference between the outcome variable and its predictors. On the other hand, socio-demographic factors such as the living situation of the students and psychosocial factors were not included. Additionally, only the pattern of Facebook use was examined without consideration of other confounding social media addictions. Lastly, as this was a developing research area in Ethiopia, robust data were not available to compare and contrast the findings.

In spite of these limitations, the results of this study pointed out some imperative findings about the studied problem. Therefore, the current findings could pave the way for any concerned researcher to carry out a future study with a more sophisticated design and to deduce the causal ability of the included and other predictors. The study’s utilization of standardized, validated, and widely used tools was considered a strength.

Although it is considered a major tool of communication, extended use of Facebook causes addiction, which was found to negatively affect the academic performances and mental well-being of the students. To promote the safe and healthy use of Facebook among university students, appropriate behavioral interventions are crucial. To ensure this, it is better for the legislative body of the university to forward a firm policy to control such sites in the compound to overcome their detrimental effects. Moreover, culturally accepted, adolescent-friendly psychosocial interventions are important for the prevention and management of the problem.

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We are grateful to all the data collectors and study participants.

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Pakistani Youth and Social Media Addiction: the Validation of Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)

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  • Published: 17 August 2020
  • Volume 20 , pages 581–594, ( 2022 )

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  • Qaisar Khalid Mahmood   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Sara Rizvi Jafree   ORCID: 2 &
  • Malik Muhammad Sohail 3 , 4  

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Majority of Pakistan’s population is comprised of youth who are increasingly using social media networks like Facebook. Though Facebook provides a platform for social interaction, there are also considerable problems associated with excessive Facebook usage that can result into addiction. Measurement of usage and addiction of Facebook through a validated scale is needed to promote better policies for protection against the pernicious consequences of addiction. Until now, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) has not been widely used and validated in Pakistan. The objective of the present study was to conduct a psychometric validation in a sample of university students of Pakistan. Responses of 713 respondents were included in the final analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis was run to confirm construct validity, and results showed that the BFAS demonstrates a one-factor solution with high factor loadings for all items. Criterion validation was also performed through structural equation modeling. Results showed that the BFAS primarily measures intensity of usage in context of addiction. Internal consistency was proven through Cronbach’s alpha analysis which was above 0.78. To conclude, the BFAS can be used in both epidemiological and clinical settings. Longitudinal use of the BFAS on larger population can help to devise policies for positive social media networking in university students to improve mental health and social development.

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Qaisar Khalid Mahmood

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Mahmood, Q.K., Jafree, S.R. & Sohail, M.M. Pakistani Youth and Social Media Addiction: the Validation of Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). Int J Ment Health Addiction 20 , 581–594 (2022).

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Facebook Addiction: Relation with Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness and Academic Performance of Pakistani Students

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This study had two main purposes: primary purpose of the study was to improve a surveying tool of measuring Facebook addictions of the secondary school students. Research sample involved 384 students from the 6 , 7 and 8 grades studying in Giresun. Prepared scale was determined to consist of 23 items. Second th th th purpose of the study was to examine to what extent Facebook addiction levels of students differ in terms of several variables. There were 459 students involved in this study sample. Research data was collected from different state schools in Isparta during 2014–2015 academic year by means of the Facebook Addiction Scale, Self-efficacy Scale and Negative Personality Scale. It was found that Facebook membership date and the amount of time spent on Facebook per day variables have significant effect on addiction. Facebook addiction scores were positively correlated with self-efficacy scores; it had negative correlation with negative personality scores. Research results showed that the membership date, the time spent on the Facebook, negative personality and self-efficacy predicted the Facebook addiction of the participants.

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  • v.6(1); 2020 Jan

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Facebook addiction and personality

This study explored the associations between Facebook addiction and personality factors. A total of 114 participants (age range of participants is 18–30 and males were 68.4% and females were 31.6 %) have participated through an online survey. The results showed that 14.91 % of the participants had reached the critical polythetic cutoff score, and 1.75 % has reached the monothetic cutoff score. The personality traits, such as extraversion, openness to experience, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and narcissism, are not related to Facebook addiction and Facebook intensity. Loneliness was positively related to Facebook addiction, and it significantly predicted Facebook addiction by accounting to 14% of the variation in Facebook addiction. The limitations and suggestions for further research have been discussed.

Psychology; Loneliness; Narcissism; Facebook Intensity; Big Five personality traits; Facebook Addiction.

1. Introduction

Addiction is a state of constant engagement in a substance or behavior which rewards the user, despite its debilitating consequences ( American Psychiatric Association, 2013 ). Substance abuse or addictions involve intake of drugs or alcohol, while behavioral addictions are about engaging in repetitive behavior. Nonetheless, researchers have acknowledged the significant similarities between chemical addictions and excessive behaviors which are non-chemical ( Albrecht et al., 2007 ; Grant et al., 2010 ). Typically, various types of behavioral addictions include gambling addiction, shopping addiction, food and sex addiction.

The rise of technology-mediated assistance in providing better communication services made our lives easier, but as a byproduct, behavioral addictions like internet addiction and social media addiction have become prevalent. Internet addiction is a problematic behavior which is defined as an impulse control disorder without the ingestion of psychoactive intoxicants. There are five different types of internet addiction. 1) Computer addiction is characterized by excessive video game playing, 2) information overload is addiction to web surfing, 3) net compulsions are addictions like online gambling and online shopping, 4) cyber sexual addiction is excessive indulgence in online pornography or online sex addiction, and 5) cyber-relationship addiction is addiction to form online relationships ( Young, 1998 ).

Internet addiction is a nested term for various addictive behaviours engaged on the internet platform. Accordingly, social media addiction may be considered as a subtype of internet addiction. It involves symptoms similar to internet addiction that are negative consequences associated with social media use such as preoccupation about using social media, withdrawal, excessive engagement, mood control and losing control over usage ( Ryan et al., 2016 ). However, social media addiction is different in manifestation as it does not involve the usage of other internet applications ( Griffiths et al., 2014 ).

Social media addiction is defined as "being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable motivation to login to or use social media, devoting so much time and effort in social media that it impairs other important life areas" ( Griffiths, 2005 ). Social media addiction is an overarching term which clubs excessive use of all social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, and YouTube.

Considering the idiosyncratic nature of different social media applications and how they are influencing users, exhorts researchers to study and investigate them in an isolated manner. Facebook usage, given its tremendous popularity, is worthy of studying separately. Facebook addiction is characterized by salience (preoccupation and cravings about usage), mood modification (desiring an experience to alter mood), tolerance (increasing amounts of usage), withdrawal symptoms (experiencing unpleasant feelings in the absence of usage), conflict (prioritizing usage over other actions) and relapse (failing to stop usage) ( Griffiths, 2005 ).

Among all social media applications, Facebook has gained the most popularity and amassed the highest number of users in the world. At the global level, there are over 2.27 billion monthly active users and 1.15 billion daily active users. Currently, India has the world's most significant number of Facebook users, with over 300 million users, and it is expected to reach 444.2 million users by 2023. Facebook visiting frequency is more than three times a day, and 76% of Facebook users are men and 24% users are women ( Statista, 2019 ). On an average Facebook user spends 60 min, log in 2–5 times daily ( Balakrishnan and Shamim, 2013 ). 13 % of the Norway university students ( Andreassen et al., 2013 ), 9% of the German college students ( Brailovskaia et al., 2018 ) are addicted to facebook. 41.8% of the Thai high school students ( Khumsri et al., 2015 ), 38% of university students in Jordan ( Alzougool, 2018 ) and 47% Malaysian students found to be addicted to facebook ( Jafarkarimi et al., 2016 ). 39. 7 % of the Bangladesh students ( Al Mamun and Griffiths, 2019 ) and 33% of Indian students are at risk for facebook addiction ( Shettar et al., 2017 ).

Facebook usage has grown exponentially in India. Teenagers and young adults are it’s prominent users. Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) reported that social media penetration in rural India is increasing and Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform as about 84% of the internet users in India use internet primarily to access social media sites like Facebook ( Anita, 2015 ). Among Indian students, 46% of the facebook addicted individuals found to have depressive symptoms ( Elavarasan and Dhandapani, 2017 ), 26% of the facebook addicted felt lonely ( Shettar et al., 2017 ), and 3% of facebook addicted experienced stress and anxiety ( Meena et al., 2015 ).

Young individuals, students, singles; people from low income and low educational background are the at-risk populations for addictive social media use ( Andreassen et al., 2017 ). The propensity to develop Facebook addiction is contingent upon active use frequency, use duration, usage comprehensiveness and access to heterogeneous devices ( Turel, 2015 ).

With the advent of smartphones ( Andreassen and Pallesen, 2014 ) and the availability of internet facility, social media usage has increased. Excessive use of social networking sites may be problematic ( Kuss and Griffiths, 2011 ), as it may develop into Facebook addiction ( Brailovskaia et al., 2018 ). The increasing engagement in Facebook by large sections of people created the impetus to scrutinize the precedents and antecedents of its usage.

Uses and gratifications theory ( Sarnoff and Katz, 1954 ) propounds that scrutiny into users motives will enhance understanding of the medium. Motivation is a process which guides goal-oriented behaviors. An array of motivations initiates the use of Facebook, such as maintaining personal connections, relationship maintenance with family and friends, passing time, entertainment, and building companionship ( Ryan et al., 2014 ). The primary motivation appears to be constructing a self-identity in the realm of facebook. Self-presentation is an attempt to present oneself in a pertinent way to invoke the desired impression, which influences our outcomes in life ( Hogan and Briggs, 1986 ). Facebook features facilitate individuals to present themselves in myriad ways. The need to present one's self pleasingly to impress others and to boost self-esteem through the likes of others perpetuates Facebook use ( Burrow and Rainone, 2017 ). Promoting activities that are, are self-enhancing satisfies the need for popularity which in turn drives Facebook usage ( Caers et al., 2013 ).

The self operates in a social network in its relational form, so people inadvertently compare their abilities and attitudes with others which play a role in forming self-image ( Festinger, 1954 ). Facebook is a platform where its users present their personal information and activities which necessitates comparison. Regularly checking Facebook allures users into comparing their lives with others, this resultantly, invokes insecurity and fear of missing out what others are experiencing, which are positively related to Facebook addiction ( Muench et al., 2015 ; Pontes et al., 2018 ).

Low level of self-regulation, maladaptive cognitions about perceived identities in Facebook combined with a preference for online social interaction is related to Facebook addiction ( Hughes et al., 2012 ; Pontes et al., 2018 ).

Despite Facebook use negatively affecting users mood, the anticipated bolstering of one's mood by using Facebook, affective forecasting, seemed to cause Facebook addiction ( Sagioglou and Greitemeyer, 2014 ).

The expectation for mood elations might be due to the nature of facebook structural features underpinned by algorithms which are purposefully designed to hook the users. The underlying algorithms are designed to influence the personal preferences and choices of the users through customized feedback loops. These algorithms capitalize on behavioural principles, i.e., intermittent reinforcement, which pursues users efficiently to spend more time on facebook. Furthermore, this can increase the probability of addictive facebook usage ( Harris, 2016 ; Lanier, 2018 ).

The excessive use of Facebook creates conflict in the intrapersonal and interpersonal relationship, which may hamper the wellbeing of the user. The impact of Facebook use on wellbeing is contentious. For a short term Facebook use seems to enhance wellbeing by increasing happiness and life satisfaction ( Kim and Lee, 2011 ; Liu and Yu, 2013 ) but on a longer-term Facebook, use is negatively related to mental health ( Kross et al., 2013 ) and diminished wellbeing ( Satici and Uysal, 2015 ). Facebook addiction is positively associated with depression ( Błachnio et al., 2015 ), anxiety symptoms ( Brailovskaia and Margraf, 2017 ) and lowered wellbeing ( Satici and Uysal., 2015 ).

Personality factors also play a role in Facebook usage and addiction. Previous studies explored the association between Big five personality factors. Extraverted individuals are outgoing and social; neurotic individuals are prone to experience unpleasant emotions; conscientious individuals are self-disciplined and achievement-oriented. Agreeable individuals are compassionate and cooperative. Individuals who are open to experience, appreciate and curious to have a variety of experiences ( McCrae and Costa, 1999 ). Extraverted individuals may get gratification in maintaining their social circles and having a high number of friends on Facebook. Neurotic individuals may use Facebook to alter their mood whenever they go through unpleasant moods. Extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, and neuroticism are related to Facebook use, which depends upon how particular facebook feature is appealing to the particular personality trait ( Mahmood and Farooq, 2014 ; Marshall et al., 2015 ; Sharma and Isha, 2015 ; Wang et al., 2012 ; Yesil, 2014 ).

Factors which are associated with Facebook use were found to be associated with Facebook addiction also. Extraversion, neuroticism, low conscientiousness is related to Facebook addiction ( Caers et al., 2013 ; Hwang, 2017 ; Wang et al., 2015 ). Conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and loneliness strongly predicted Facebook addiction ( Biolcati et al., 2018 ). Personality mediated through perceived social support related to Facebook addiction ( Zafar et al., 2018 ).

Personality traits, which are not under the purview of the five-factor model, such as narcissism and loneliness, drive facebook usage ( Ross et al., 2009 ). Narcissism is an excessive preoccupation with oneself and lack of empathy or disregard for others emotions. Facebook features make it possible to promote oneself, presenting oneself in a better light and creating a positive or even idealistic lifestyle ( Błachnio et al., 2013 ). High levels of narcissism and low level of self-esteem predicted Facebook use. Narcissistic individuals tend to self-objectify and spent more time on Facebook in editing their photos ( Fox and Moreland, 2015 ). High levels of narcissism and loneliness are associated with Facebook users than nonusers ( Ryan and Xenos, 2011 ). Visual forms of facebook use, i.e. posting photos and images, mediated the relation between problematic internet use and narcissism ( Reed et al., 2018 ).

Loneliness is an involuntary state of social isolation or the feeling of being alone ( Russell, 2009 ). Lonely individuals tend to use online social communication as a means of escaping from negative mood states ( Caplan, 2003 ). Loneliness is positively associated with Facebook usage. Shyness and low social support induced loneliness increased Facebook use, which typically mitigates mood change ( Song et al., 2014 ).

Cultural differences account for facebook usage. Abbas and Mesch (2015) found a positive association between collectivism and the desire to use facebook. In collectivistic cultures, individuals invest a higher amount of time in caring about family, friends and community. These social motives are gratified when they engage in facebook. So, members of collectivistic cultures perceive facebook as a facilitating medium to maintain existing relationships and to expand other social ties ( Jackson and Wang, 2013 ). When individuals construe their self as interdependent, not independent, they tend to focus on improving social relationships. These individuals get gratification from using facebook to strengthen their relations ( Kim et al., 2010 ).

However, considering the breadth of social media usage, robust studies are lacking to explain the facebook phenomenon. The literature on Facebook addiction in the Indian context is also scant. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders is waiting for adequate empirical evidence to categorize and to include facebook addiction in the nomenclature ( Brailovskaia and Margraf, 2017 ).

The main aim of this study is to investigate Facebook addiction and Facebook intensity and its associations with big five personality traits, loneliness and narcissism. Considering the previous research about the association between Facebook use and big five traits ( Wang et al., 2015 ), it was assumed that the big five personality traits are positively related to Facebook addiction (Hypothesis 1). Highly narcissistic individuals spent more time on Facebook ( Fox and Moreland, 2015 ), so it was expected that narcissism is positively related to Facebook addiction (Hypothesis 2). Loneliness was associated with Facebook usage ( Song et al., 2014 ; Shettar et al., 2017 ); it was assumed that loneliness is positively related to Facebook addiction (Hypothesis 3).

2. Materials and methods

2.1. procedure and participants.

Data were obtained through the online survey mode by creating Google forms; the links were circulated in social media applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp. A Google form was attached with a consent form which explained the purpose of the study and the confidentiality and anonymity of the participant's personal information. The age range of participants is 18–30 and males were 68.4%, and females were 31.6%. Students comprised 63.2%, among them, undergraduates are 35.2%, postgraduates are 45.6%, PhDs are 19.2%, and employees are 36.8%. Daily, 83.9% of the participants used Facebook for 2 h, 11.3% used for 3–4 h, 3.2% used for 5–6 h, .8% used for 7–8 h and .8% used for more than 9 h. The data was collected from 2018 February to 2018 June. The participation was voluntary and active use of facebook was the requirement. The Institute Ethics Committee (Human Studies) of Pondicherry University has reviewed the study procedure, research tools and approved it.

Before using the tools, a pilot study was conducted to check the feasibility of collecting a sample and reliability of the scales. During the pilot study, total of 50 respondents were administered the tools; based on the pilot study results, tools were found to be reliable with adequate Cronbach values. Among the pilot study sample, females comprised of 32% and males were 68%. 52% of the students were pursuing under graduation, 32% were pursuing post-graduation and 16% were doctoral students. The age range of the participants was 18–30, 66% of them being18 to 24 and 34% being 25 to 30.

2.2. Measures

2.2.1. ten item personality inventory.

A short ten-item personality measures big five personality traits, namely extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience. It consists of 10 items which are rated on a 7-point likert scale with a degree of agreement on each statement, ranging from 1 = disagree strongly to 7 = agree strongly. The 10-item personality inventory has been standardized with adequate levels of validity, reliability and external correlates. However, reliability was checked for this sample. The Cronbach alphas for each individual trait are .77, .71, .76, .70, and .62 for the extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience respectively ( Gosling et al., 2003 ). The cronbach alphas of each individual trait for the current sample are .61, .60, .62, .67, and .60 for the extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience respectively. The total Cronbach's α for Current sample is .62. The 10 item personality inventory was devised as a brief measure of the big five dimensions of personality. Brief measures eliminate item redundancy, reducing participant boredom and the frustration about “answering the same question again and again.” So it can be used as a proxy for the longer big-five instruments. A short measure should not aim at maximizing Cronbach alpha, because each set of items of a personality trait needs to capture the breadth of the concept ( Gosling et al., 2003 ).

2.2.2. Narcissistic personality inventory

Narcissistic personality inventory (NPI) – 40 was used to assess narcissism, which has an acceptable face, internal, discriminant and predictive validity ( Raskin and Terry (1988) . Items like "Modesty does not become me" and "I am essentially a modest person". Higher scores indicate a more narcissistic personality. Cronbach's α for Current sample is .79.

2.2.3. UCLA loneliness scale

UCLA loneliness scale developed by Russell et al. (1978) is a 20 item scale (O indicates "I often feel this way", S indicates "I sometimes feel this way", R indicates "I rarely feel this way", N indicates "I never feel this way") which measures one's subjective feelings of loneliness as well as feelings of social isolation. The reliability of the scale is α = 73. Cronbach's α for Current sample is .92.

2.2.4. Bergen Facebook addiction scale

Bergen facebook addiction scale was used to assess the Facebook addiction level. It contains 6 items (e.g., "using Facebook in order to forget about personal problems") according to the six core addiction features (i.e., salience, tolerance, mood modification, relapse, withdrawal, and conflict) rated on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = very rarely, 5 = very often). Higher values indicate higher levels of Facebook addiction. The reliability of the scale is α = 0.86. Cronbach's α for Current sample is .84. A monothetic scoring with a rating of 3 or above for all items and polythetic approach with a rating of 3 or above on at least four of the six items was used to indicate Facebook addiction ( Andreassen et al., 2012 ).

2.2.5. Facebook intensity scale

Facebook intensity scale ( Ellison et al., 2007 ) was used to find out the intensity of Facebook usage and degree of emotional involvement in facebook. This scale consists of 8 items, two of them measuring the number of Facebook friends and the amount of time spent on Facebook on a typical day and the remaining six items (e.g., I would be sorry if facebook is shutdown) uses a Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). Cronbach's α for Current sample is .88.

2.2.6. Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics, Pearson product-moment correlation, was used to analyze the association between variables. Simple regression was used to analyze the predictive power of the variables.

Table 2 shows the mean and standard deviations of Bergen Facebook addiction scale items. According to the polythetic scoring (rating of 3 or above on at least four of the six items of BFAS scale), 17 (14.91) and monothetic scoring (rating of 3 or above for all items) 2 (1.75) participants reached the critical cutoff score. Item 4 (relapse) and item 3 (mood modification) have gained the highest values (See Table 1 ).

Table 1

Means and standard deviations of the study variables.

Table 2

Means and standard deviations of Bergen Facebook addiction scale items.

Table 3 shows Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients which were used to analyze hypotheses. The big five traits extraversion ( r = − .12 ), agreeableness ( r = .11 ), conscientiousness ( r = − .13 ), neuroticism ( r = − .04 ), openness to experience ( r = − .14 ) and narcissism ( r = − .04 ) was found to be not related to face book addiction and face book intensity. Loneliness and Face book addiction are significantly related r = .38, p < .01.

Table 3

Summary of correlation between variables.

*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01.

Table 4 shows the simple regression coefficients. Loneliness significantly predicted Face book addiction, β = .38, t (110) = 4.37, p < .001 . Loneliness also explained a significant proportion of variance in face book addiction, R 2 = .14, F (1, 110) = 19.1, p < .001.

Table 4

Summary of linear regression analysis for loneliness.

4. Discussion

This study aimed to investigate the association between personality factors and facebook addiction among young students in southern India. Results showed that big five personality traits were not related to Facebook addiction and facebook intensity. This result is in contradiction with other studies which found the associations with Facebook addiction such as Extraversion, neuroticism, low conscientiousness ( Caers et al., 2013 ; Hwang, 2017 ; Wang et al., 2015 ). Extraverted individuals may consider Facebook as an online space for conducting social activities which is an extension to offline social activities rather than an alternative. Extraversion is associated with more number of friends and use Facebook to communicate about their social activities. Openness to experience is associated with a greater tendency to be sociable through Facebook ( Ross et al., 2009 ). High Conscientious individuals may avoid social media because it may distract and interfere in doing their duties ( Hughes et al., 2012 ). Agreeability was associated with having more number of friends on facebook ( Wang et al., 2012 ). Neurotic individuals use photos and share more personally-identifying information to satisfy their need for self-assurance and self-validation ( Ross et al., 2009 ). Thus big five personality factors are related to the usage of particular facebook features, and this usage need not necessarily develop into an addiction.

Jackson and Wang (2013) found that users from collectivistic cultures use social networks less often than people from individualistic cultures. Individuals from collectivistic cultures tend to adhere to traditional cultural values such as caring about family and friends. These cultural values shape facebook use. Thus, for these individuals, Facebook is a tool to maintain existing relationships and expand social ties but not at the cost of real-world social relationships. These cultural values may buffer against excessive behaviours like facebook addiction. In collectivistic cultures, parents influence and monitor their children's activities. This safeguarding possibly can weed out excessive and addictive use of facebook.

Individuals from collectivistic cultures are less likely to have multiple internet-connected devices. Less connectivity acts as a protective factor, as Turel (2015) indicated that access to heterogeneous devices is associated with facebook addiction.

Cultural factors such as power distance (individuals place in a given social hierarchy) predict motivation for using Facebook. Power distance in India is high, which indicates the high inequality of power and wealth. A large proportion of the population is deprived of socio-economic resources. This depravity limits access to technology, which suggests the improbability that individuals from these circumstances may not engage in intensive and addictive facebook usage.

Jackson and Wang (2013) also indicated that personal characteristics, such as the big five personality factors, exhibit the better predictive value of facebook use in individualistic cultures than they are for collectivistic cultures ( Abbas and Mesch, 2015 ; Jackson and Wang, 2013 ).

This study found no association between Narcissism and facebook addiction. Narcissism is related to self-expression through posting self-focused pictures, update statuses about achievements for self-validation ( Marshall et al., 2015 ). Narcissism is not always related to Facebook addiction ( Błachnio et al., 2016 ) and is not a strong predictor of the amount of time spent on the social networking sites ( Bergman et al., 2011 ).

Loneliness was found to be associated with Facebook addiction. Even in collectivistic cultures, high expectations about reciprocations in social relationships and lack of sufficient skills for fostering social ties may set individuals at risk for loneliness ( Jylha and Jokela, 1990 ). For lonely individuals using Facebook may compensate for lacking social skills and interactions in face to face offline social settings ( Song et al., 2014 ; Shettar et al., 2017 ). High levels of loneliness are associated with Facebook usage and low social support induced loneliness increased Facebook use ( Ryan and Xenos., 2011 ; Song et al., 2014 ).

4.1. Limitations and further research

This study has a small sample size, which can compromise on the generalizability of the results. Future studies can employ a bigger sample size and study why India has the highest number of subscribers in the world. The big five traits were measured using ten item personality inventory, in which, each trait is measured using merely 2 items. The cronbach alpha values are low but within acceptable range only as it has been stated that a Cronbach alpha higher than 0.60 is still acceptable in social sciences ( Błachnio et al., (2017) ; Correa et al., (2010) ; Ellinoudis et al. (2011) ; Florio et al. (2020) ; Darusalam, 2008 , Hosoda (2006) ; Mohamad et al. (2015) ; Shankman and Allen, 2010 , p. 429). Our study employed a self-report survey which is prone to social desirability. The addicted individual tends not to disclose their real behaviour so self-reports can be biased. This study recruited participants through social media like Facebook and WhatsApp. The anonymity of the participants can lower accountability as there is a chance for sloppy responding and providing false answers ( Gosling and Mason, 2015 ).

To tackle with these problems, future studies can substantiate self-reports with physiological markers such as heart rate, skin conductance, and blood pressure that are proven to be reliable markers in substance addictions and internet addiction ( Brailovskaia et al., 2018 ; Romano et al., 2017 ; Reed et al., 2017 ). Our study used correlation measures which makes causal implications unwarranted. Studies about Facebook usage in the Indian context are need of the hour which can focus on why its popularity is growing in India and especially in rural India. One can study and compare the level and type of usage among adolescents and young adults. Future studies can focus on the structural features of Facebook and its influence on addiction.

5. Conclusion

This study is the first of its kind to throw light on Facebook addiction in India. Our study suggests that the big five personality traits and narcissism are not related to Facebook addiction even though they are related to Facebook use as suggested by earlier studies. Loneliness emerged as a significant risk factor for Facebook addiction.


Author contribution statement.

T. Rajesh: Conceived and designed the experiments; Performed the experiments; Analyzed and interpreted the data; Wrote the paper.

B. Rangaiah: Contributed reagents, materials, analysis tools or data.

Funding statement

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

No additional information is available for this paper.

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