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Understanding the role of individual differences in mobile SNS addiction

Mingchuan Gong (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China and Department of Information System, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)
Mengli Xu (School of Journalism and Communication, Anhui University, Hefei, China)
Adeel Luqman (Department of Commerce, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan)
Lingling Yu (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Ayesha Masood (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 3 February 2020

Issue publication date: 13 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The phenomenon of mobile social networking site (SNS) addiction has become increasingly severe nowadays and brings adverse outcomes to users’ daily life and work efficiency. However, there are relatively few research probes into the formation process of mobile SNS addiction behavior, and how demographic factors (e.g. gender and age) influence users’ addiction behavior. Adopting the stimulus–organism–response (S–O–R) framework, this study examines the effects of three types of technological functions (enjoyment, sociability and information value) on flow in relation to mobile SNS addiction. The authors further proposed gender and age as moderators, which play important roles in influencing the formation of mobile SNS addiction behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the formation of mobile SNS addiction with a particular focus on the WeChat app. The authors use a field survey study conducted in China with 351 subjects of WeChat app users to examine thestudy model.

Findings

The results demonstrate that addictive behavior is determined by users’ flow states of using mobile SNS. The flow states, in turn, are influenced by three types of technological functions (enjoyment, sociability and information value). In addition, gender and age act as vital moderators in the model.

Originality/value

First, the authors empirically examine the formation of SNS addiction on the mobile device by adopting the S–O–R framework, which may enrich the addiction literature. Second, the authors reveal the moderating roles of age and gender in affecting the formation process of addiction behavior further. The findings of this research deepen our understanding of users’ addiction behavior. Third, the findings also offer rich insights to prevent mobile SNS addiction.

Keywords

Citation

Gong, M., Xu, M., Luqman, A., Yu, L. and Masood, A. (2020), "Understanding the role of individual differences in mobile SNS addiction", Kybernetes, Vol. 49 No. 12, pp. 3069-3097. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-05-2019-0367

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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