Investigating the impact of mobile SNS addiction on individual’s self-rated health

Yajiong Xue (Department of Management Information Systems, College of Business, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Yuanyuan Dong (School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Mengyun Luo (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Dandan Mo (School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Wei Dong (School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Zhiruo Zhang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Huigang Liang (East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 4 April 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how WeChat addiction influences users’ physical, mental, and social health.

Design/methodology/approach

A national survey was conducted in China. A total of 1,058 responses were collected from 31 regions of China.

Findings

The regression results show that WeChat addiction is negatively associated with users’ physical, mental, and social health. The negative effects are significant even after adjusting for the effects of the Big Five personality traits, years of using WeChat, and demographic variables such as age, gender, education level, and monthly income. Years of using WeChat is not significantly related to users’ health. It is also found that the influence of WeChat addiction on health outcomes is sensitive to years of WeChat use. The influence is dormant when users have less than three years of WeChat usage, but starts to exhibit itself after three years.

Research limitations/implications

Addictive use of WeChat is associated with declining overall health among Chinese users. Given the cross-sectional nature of this study, definite causal relationship between WeChat addiction and health deterioration cannot be established. Controlled experiments are needed to further examine the causal effects of WeChat addiction.

Originality/value

WeChat is the most popular mobile social network service (SNS) in China, but its comprehensive impact on users’ health is rarely studied. This paper extends the extant research on SNS addiction by providing a deepened understanding of how mobile SNS addiction affects personal health in the unique context of WeChat, which provides an important contribution to the interdisciplinary research in public health, psychology, and information systems.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Yajiong Xue and Yuanyuan Dong are joint first authors.

Citation

Xue, Y., Dong, Y., Luo, M., Mo, D., Dong, W., Zhang, Z. and Liang, H. (2018), "Investigating the impact of mobile SNS addiction on individual’s self-rated health", Internet Research, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 278-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-05-2017-0198

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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