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How perceived overload leads to WeChat passive usage intention: the mediating roles of social network exhaustion and discontented feeling

Hua Pang (School of New Media and Communication, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Yanxinyue Liu (College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 13 June 2024




The principal purposes of the research are to empirically investigate three forms of perceived overload on social media and shed light on their associations with users’ passive usage intention by contemplating the mediating influence of social network exhaustion and discontented feelings.


This study employed a cross-sectional methodology to collect statistical data (N = 679) from WeChat users in mainland China. Primitive analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were employed to test the corresponding hypotheses.


The findings reveal that three dimensions of perceived overload influence social network exhaustion positively. In addition, communication overload and system feature overload exert positive impacts on the discontented feeling. Furthermore, it is uncovered that social network exhaustion and discontented feeling are related to passive usage intention positively.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, this paper offers a conceptual framework to explicate passive usage intention through elucidating social network exhaustion and the discontented feeling that arises from perceived overload in contemporary social media-mediated environments. Practically, the current research has certain realistic implications for WeChat users and SNS operators.


Probing what triggers people’s passive usage intention of social media has been an emerging theme in recent years, yet there is a dearth of discourse that delves into the antecedents of WeChat users’ passive usage intention. The results obtained from the study have enhanced the understanding of the adverse consequences associated with the utilization of social media in mainland China.



This work was supported by the Tianjin Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (Grant No. TJXC23-002).


Pang, H. and Liu, Y. (2024), "How perceived overload leads to WeChat passive usage intention: the mediating roles of social network exhaustion and discontented feeling", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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