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Is boredom proneness related to social media overload and fatigue? A stress–strain–outcome approach

Eoin Whelan (National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, UK)
A.K.M. Najmul Islam (University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Stoney Brooks (Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 24 February 2020

Issue publication date: 18 May 2020




Social media overload and fatigue have become common phenomena that are negatively affecting people's well-being and productivity. It is, therefore, important to understand the causes of social media overload and fatigue. One of the reasons why many people engage with social media is to avoid boredom. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how boredom proneness relates to social media overload and fatigue.


Building on the stress–strain–outcome framework, this paper tests a model hypothesizing the relationships between a social media user's boredom proneness, information and communication overload, and social media fatigue. The study tests the model by collecting data from 286 social media users.


The results suggest a strong association between boredom proneness and both information and communication overload, which, in turn, are strongly associated with social media fatigue. In addition, social media usage was found to amplify the effects of information overload on social media fatigue, but, unexpectedly, attenuates the effects of communication overload.


Prior research has largely overlooked the connection between boredom and problematic social media use. The present study addresses this important gap by developing and testing a research model relating boredom proneness to social media overload and fatigue.



This research was funded by the Irish Research Council.


Whelan, E., Najmul Islam, A.K.M. and Brooks, S. (2020), "Is boredom proneness related to social media overload and fatigue? A stress–strain–outcome approach", Internet Research, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 869-887.



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