Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 605–619 | Cite as

Neuroticism Magnifies the Detrimental Association between Social Media Addiction Symptoms and Wellbeing in Women, but Not in Men: a three-Way Moderation Model

  • Ofir TurelEmail author
  • Natalie “Tasha” Poppa
  • Oren Gil-Or
Original Paper


Addiction symptoms in relation to the use of social networking sites (SNS) can be associated with reduced wellbeing. However, the mechanisms that can control this association have not been fully characterized, despite their relevance to effective treatment of individuals presenting SNS addiction symptoms. In this study we hypothesize that sex and neuroticism, which are important determinants of how people evaluate and respond to addiction symptoms, moderate this association. To examine these assertions, we employed hierarchical linear and logistic regression techniques to analyze data collected with a cross-sectional survey of 215 Israeli college students who use SNS. Results lend support to the hypothesized negative association between SNS addiction symptoms and wellbeing (as well as potentially being at-risk for low mood/ mild depression), and the ideas that (1) this association is augmented by neuroticism, and (2) that the augmentation is stronger for women than for men. They demonstrated that the sexes may differ in their SNS addiction-wellbeing associations: while men had similar addiction symptoms -wellbeing associations across neuroticism levels, women with high levels of neuroticism presented much steeper associations compared to women with low neuroticism. This provides an interesting account of possible “telescoping effect”, the idea that addicted women present a more severe clinical profile compared to men, in the case of technology-“addictions”.


Social media addiction Internet addiction Telescoping effect Sex differences Wellbeing Mild depression Neuroticism 



The authors report no extramural funding for this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no potential conflict of interest pertaining to this Psychiatric Quarterly submission.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Information Systems and Decision SciencesCalifornia State University, FullertonFullertonUSA
  3. 3.College of Management Academic StudiesRishon LeZionIsrael

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