A theory of social media dependence : Evidence from microblog users

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
Journal / PublicationDecision Support Systems
Online published1 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


Anecdotal evidence suggests that problematic use of social media has become prevalent among a large proportion of users and led to significant behavioral and psychological problems. Nevertheless, theory-driven investigation into this issue is still relatively scarce, and the few existing studies tend to adopt only a conceptual or descriptive approach. This study uses a theory-guided approach and seeks to clarify the development of psychological dependence in the context of social media, with a particular focus on microblogging. Building on the theory of rational addiction, this study hypothesizes that dependence is initially developed from habit. Furthermore, the study draws on the cognitive-affective-behavioral modeling paradigm to hypothesize that maladaptive cognition and affect tend to distort habit into psychological dependence. We conduct a longitudinal empirical test to validate the underlying mechanism of social media dependence as theorized in our study. The study concludes with a discussion of theoretical and practical implications.

Research Area(s)

  • Addiction, Cognitive-affective-behavioral model, Dependence, Habit, Problematic technology use, Social media