Relationship Between Media Multitasking and Self-esteem Among Chinese Adolescents: Mediating Roles of Peer Influence and Family Functioning

  • Jiutong LuoEmail author
  • Pui-sze Yeung
  • Hui Li
Original Paper



Media multitasking has been found to have a negative relationship with young people’s psychological well-being. However, its relationship with self-esteem has only been examined among adults, and the mechanism underlying its association with adolescents’ well-being has been unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between media multitasking and self-esteem and explore the effects of peer influence and family functioning as potential mediators of this association.


A sample of 725 Chinese adolescents (55.6% girls; Mage = 14.71, SD = 1.41) completed a paper-based survey, which included questions on demographics, media multitasking, peer influence, family functioning, and self-esteem. Structural equation modeling and multi-group analyses were performed on the collected data.


Media multitasking (MM) showed a negative association with self-esteem (SE) (r = −0.17, p < 0.001); however, peer influence (PI) and family functioning (FF) entirely mediated this relationship, i.e., MM→FF→SE (β = −0.059, p < 0.05) and MM→PI→FF→SE (β = −0.025, p < 0.01). In addition, significant differences were found in specific mediation pathways among gender and age groups.


Overall, these findings have important implications for understanding the relationship between media multitasking and self-esteem among adolescents, as well as the age and gender differences.


Media multitasking Self-esteem Peer influence Family functioning Mediating role Adolescents 



This work is extracted from the first author’s PhD thesis under the supervision of P.S.Y., and H.L. The authors would like to thank the late Associate Professor Dr Jingyan Lu at Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong for her great support to this PhD project in the early stage. We would also like to thank the students who filled the questionnaire and their teachers for helping with the data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Human Research Ethics Committee, the University of Hong Kong (EA1707026) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong SAR
  2. 2.Department of Educational StudiesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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