Unveiling the Dark Side in Smartphone Addiction : Mediation of Strain and Moderation of Hedonic Use on Well-being

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)12-38
Journal / PublicationInternet Research
Issue number1
Online published27 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2023


Purpose - The research purpose is to investigate the mediating and moderating relationships between smartphone addiction and well-being (i.e. health-related quality of life). 
Design/methodology/approach - A survey of 236 smartphone users was used to test the research model. 
Findings - The structural equation modeling analysis results show that smartphone addiction negatively impacts well-being by draining a key personal resource, energy, thus creating strain. The adverse effect of smartphone addiction on users' well-being is found to be more intense when smartphones are used for hedonic purposes. 
Research limitations/implications - Through the conservation of resources theory lens, this study increases our understanding of the role of strain in mediating the negative effect of smartphone addiction on well-being. This study also has practical implications. By exploring the mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying when and how smartphone addiction can be detrimental to well-being, interventions can be carried out to mitigate the adverse effects on well-being. 
Originality/value - Past research has focused on the antecedents and consequences of smartphone addiction while ignoring the contextual factors of smartphone addiction effects as well as the intervening mechanism through which smartphone addiction impacts well-being. Through the lens of the conservation of resources theory, we close this gap in the literature by providing a better understanding of the mechanism by which smartphone addiction reduces well-being and identifying a relevant contextual factor (i.e. hedonic use) that can worsen the impact of smartphone addiction on well-being.

Research Area(s)

  • Conservation of resources theory, Health-related quality of life, Hedonic use, Moment app, Smartphone addiction, Strain, Well-being